COVID and Domestic Abuse


Anchor lead: Sheltering at home may put children and spouses at risk for domestic abuse, Elizabeth Tracey reports

COVID-19 has driven many people to sheltering at home, but that may not be a safe place for children and spouses, as domestic abuse has increased substantially, recent data show. Rachel Thornton, a pediatrician at Johns Hopkins, says transitioning to televisits presents additional challenges in identifying and helping those at risk.

Thornton: When we’re doing a televisit, and we don’t know who else is overhearing the conversation, we always tread cautiously because we know that we don’t want to put people who are in a compromised or potentially compromised situation further in harm’s way by asking at the wrong time or raising suspicions. We do our best to assess for confidentiality when we’re talking to people in their homes, to ask their comfort level with disclosing sensitive information, to give them a heads up that we’re going to be asking about these things.  :31

Thornton says pediatricians are available to help both children and their parents. At Johns Hopkins, I’m Elizabeth Tracey.