An Evaluation of Domestic Violence against Jamaican Women during

International Journal of Collaborative Research on Internal Medicine & Public Health

ISSN - 1840-4529

Research - (2021) Volume 13, Issue 9

An Evaluation of Domestic Violence against Jamaican Women during the Coronavirus Disease 19 (COVID-19) Pandemic

Paul Andrew Bourne1*, Affia Palmer2, Brianna Brady2, Racquel Swaby2, Dwayne Malcolm2, James Fallah3, Calvin Campbell4, Clifton Foster5, Caroline McLean2 and Monique White6
*Correspondence: Dr. Paul Andrew Bourne, Department of Institutional Research, Northern Caribbean University, Mandeville, Manchester, Jamaica, West Indies, Email:

Author info »


The first COVID-19 case in Jamaica was in March 2020 it has been an issue since then. This study targets victim of domestic violence, examines the factors that contribute to Jamaican women being victims of domestic violence, and determines whether domestic violence against Jamaican women has increased during the COVID-19 pandemic. Researchers conducted a random sampling correlation research design to collect data from 513 Jamaican women 18 years and older across the island using a standardized survey created using Google forms. The Statistical Packages for the Social Sciences (SPSS) for Windows, Version 25.0 with 95% confidence interval provided analysis of the collected data. Of the sampled respondents (n=505), 32% indicated being victims of domestic violence, with 60% reported being physically abused, 8.9% reported sexual abuse, and 31.1% reported being emotionally abused of the total sampled respondents, before the COVID-19 pandemic, 49% of them frequently experienced domestic violence compared to 53.1% during COVID-19.The majority of women who reported having a personality disorder (63.6%) were domestically abused compared to other women. Furthermore, of the 513 Jamaican women surveyed, 46.9% were between ages 18-25 years, 46.9% employed, 68.8% lived in rural communities, and 53.8% had a tertiary level education. In addition, most perpetrators of domestic violence were boyfriends (98%) compared to husbands (89.7%,) followed by family members (79.3%).Intimate partner violence has intensified since the COVID-19 pandemic, which means the home has become a battleground for women. Such a stark reality indicates that this public health matter requires immediate attention to mitigate further increase amid ongoing “stay at home orders” and social isolation.


Domestic violence; Gender-based violence; Health insurance; Intimate partner violence; Social isolation


For centuries, many women have suffered domestic violence at the hands of their perpetrators, some of whom were close family members or husbands Bucknor, 2021 United Nations, 2021 World Health Organization (WHO), 2021 estimated that some 30% of women experienced violence where their intimate sexual partners were the perpetrator in most cases. Furthermore, 27% of women aged 15-49 years experienced physical or sexual violence or both perpetrated by their intimate partners. Similarly, Hodges (2018) found a reported 15% of abuse among Jamaican women [1]. Furthermore, Jamaicans for Justice (JFJ) (2020) found that 25.2% of Jamaican women experienced domestic violence at some point in their lifetime [2]. Jamaica had increased violent incidents, resulting in gruesome violent acts committed against women as well as girls (Amnesty International, 2006; Gauntlett, 2020; Jamaica Family Planning Association, Sheil, 2020; Taub, 2020; Telson, 2020; United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, 2018 [3].Watson, Statistical Institute of Jamaica, Inter-American development bank, and united nations for gender equality and the empowerment of women, 2018) [4,5].

Recently, a Jamaican woman in St. James suffered severe burns after her boyfriend allegedly used a flammable substance to set her ablaze. The incident happened after a verbal altercation between the couple (Bucknor, 2021). In another violent case, a husband used a broomstick to beat his wife. Reportedly, the husband felt disrespected because the wife was speaking on the phone with a man he knew, and shortly after, he started to beat her (Taylor, 2021)[6]. Domestic violence is not just a local challenge but an international one as well [7]. Similar cases were reported in the United States, as domestic violence incidents rose to about 8.1% after the imposition of the COVID-19 lockdown (Levenson, 2021) compared to 15% of Jamaican women who have experienced intimate partner violence (Hodges, 2018), suggesting that the home is not a safe place during COVID-19 (Telson, 2020)[8].

The United Nations stated that rates of lifetime intimate partner violence varied among countries: Western Pacific (20%), high-income European countries (22%), WHO Regions of the Americas (25%), the WHO African region (33%), WHO Eastern Mediterranean region (31%), and WHO South- East Asia region (33%). These statistics provide some context to the extent of the problem but limited information on intimate partner violence in the Caribbean, including Jamaica.

Data from the Statistical Institute of Jamaica (StATIN) and the Jamaica Family Planning Association (JFPA) provide statistics on Jamaican women related to domestic violence. The data revealed that "27.8% of every partnered woman aged 15-49 years' experience intimate partner physical or sexual violence or both in their lifetime. Seven per cent of women 15-49 experienced physical or sexual intimate partner violence or both in the last 12 months and that there is a 23% lifetime prevalence of non-partner sexual violence (JFPA, n.d; StATIN, 2018).

Researchers contend that domestic violence has spread globally due to its increasing incidences (National Family Planning Board, 2021; The Gleaner, 2021) [9].The United Nations (2021) contends that domestic violence against women is a public health matter. Similarly, Muturi and Donald (2006) labelled domestic violence as a global problem requiring an urgent resolution [10]. Therefore this growing challenge indicates the need for creating effective social intervention strategies. However, possible approaches in addressing this crisis require further research to investigate violence against women and unknown factors that influence this troubling societal threat.

The state of domestic violence occurring across the globe because of COVID-19 explains the justification for a statement made by the General Secretary of the United Nations on April 5, 2020, that he urged "all governments to put women's safety first as they respond to the pandemic." The perspective stops short of calling domestic violence against women a pandemic, but the high prevalence is embedded therein. Despite women's social and financial advancement, intimate partner violence continues unabated (Arscott-Mills, 2001)[11]. What are missing from the discourse are whether this has increased and its state due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Researchers of this study intend to address the missing piece of the puzzle. First, it is essential to define types of domestic violence and the behaviour of perpetrators.

Domestic violence refers to behaviour by an intimate partner or ex-partner that causes physical, sexual, or psychological harm, including physical aggression, sexual coercion, psychological abuse, and controlling behaviours (United Nations, n.d.; US National Library of Medicine, 2021). There are different types of domestic violence, including physical, sexual, emotional, economic, and psychological abuse, including stalking (US National Library of Medicine, 2021). Perpetrators of domestic violence often engage in this act due to several factors, including, but not limited to, history of exposure to violence, substance abuse, marital discord and dissatisfaction, difficulty communicating with partners, and male controlling behaviours towards their partners. Additionally, gender inequality and norms on the acceptability of violence against women cause domestic violence, possibly leading to serious short- and long-term physical, mental, sexual, and reproductive health problems for women (World Health Organization, 2021). To effectively address domestic violence on the local level, it is vital to acknowledge its effects globally.

Domestic violence is a significant issue globally, and it infringes on women's fundamental rights and leads to substantial damage or even death (WHO, 2021). Since the COVID-19 pandemic, many questions and statements surrounding domestic violence have surfaced. This research seeks to highlight the victimization of women and factors that contribute to Jamaican women being victims of domestic violence. Domestic violence against women in Jamaica may have increased since the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Social Conflict theory provides a framework through which this research will explore whether domestic violence against Jamaican women during the COVID-19 pandemic has increased. A total of 513 respondents completed a questionnaire created using Google Forms. The purpose of this research was to evaluate domestic violence among Jamaican women during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Theoretical framework

The Social Conflict theory by Karl Marx was developed in 1848 and proposes that tensions and conflicts occur due to unequal allocation of wealth, status, and power. These conflicts provide the catalyst for social change. Control of material resources, accumulated riches, control of politics, the institutions that makeup society domestic and one's social status compared to others are all the ways that power is illustrated and understood. It highlights that one's social status relative to others is determined not just by class but by race, gender, sexuality, culture, and religion (Crossman, 2019) [12].

The social conflict theory supports the premise that domestic violence occurs in an intimate relationship when one partner possesses more resources than the other partner. Furthermore, when one partner lacks the resources, a sense of inferiority is generated, followed by conflict. When the intensity of disputes rises, it results in abusive behaviour causing domestic violence. Often, conflicts arise in an intimate relationship when one partner possesses a better job than the other or earns more money than the other partner.

The social conflict theory underpins the constructs in this research to evaluate domestic violence among Jamaican women during the COVID-19 pandemic. The theory provides a framework for answering the three key research questions

• Are you a victim of domestic violence?

• Has domestic violence on Jamaican women increased during the COVID-19 pandemic,

• What factors contribute to Jamaican women being victims of domestic violence? Domestic violence occurs when one partner exerts more control over the other partner due to unequal distribution of resources.

As a result, domestic violence victims suffer abuse because of the perpetrator's need for control and power within the relationship (Blessing, 2021)[13].

Literature review

Studies conducted worldwide have shown that the issue of domestic violence against women is a global phenomenon. WHO (2021) found that nearly 1 in 3 (30%) women experienced physical or sexual violence by an intimate partner, non-partner, or both. The COVID-19 pandemic has influenced a surge in domestic violence against women. Reports from countries such as China, Australia, Brazil, the United States, and the United Kingdom provide evidence of the increase (WHO 2020). In China's Jianli County (central Hubei province), reported that domestic violence cases tripled in February 2020 compared to February 2019.

A survey of 400 front-line workers indicated that 40% reported increasing victim’s requests for help in Australia. Furthermore, in 70% of the cases, there was an increase in complexities during the COVID-19 pandemic onset (Latouff, 2020). An increase in domestic violence cases was also recorded in countries such as France, Cyprus, Singapore, and Argentina by 30%, 30%, 33%, and 25%, respectively since the onset of COVID-19 lockdown conditions (Mullapudi and Petikam, 2021). This increase in domestic violence influenced WHO to release a statement concerning COVID-19 and violence against women, addressing it as a significant global public health and women's health threat during emergencies[14].

The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the way of life of people globally. Measures implemented to control the spread, such as lockdowns and physical distancing that affect livelihoods and limiting access to social and health services, are likely to increase the risk of domestic violence (UN Women,2020). Perpetrators may use confinement measures to exert power and control over victims during this period, as victims have no route of escape and both formal and informal social networks are deprived (World Health Organization, 2020). Additionally, lockdowns provide an environment conducive to physical, financial, emotional, and sexual abuse because victims experience increased isolation with spouses and other family members who are the perpetrators of domestic violence (Gauntlett, 2020). Job loss and financial strains, moreover, provide a breeding ground for tension within the home.

Jamaica does not provide safe havens for women subject to acts of violence against them. According to Jamaicans for Justice, “One in four women (25.2%) has experienced physical violence by a male partner, with one in four women (24.4%) reporting sexual harassment during their lifetime (2020).A survey conducted by the Inter-American Development Bank found that domestic violence increased in the Bahamas, Barbados, and Jamaica by 11.4%, 12.3%, and 10.3%, respectively (Giles Alvarez and Khadan, 2021) [15].

Consequently, several news reports covered domestic abuse against women in Jamaica during the COVID-19 pandemic (Jamaica Observer, 2021). The most recent report involved a 21-year-old pregnant woman whose boyfriend allegedly “slashed” her throat in Clarendon on Father’s Day (Jamaica Observer, 2021 b;Yardhype, 2021)[16]. In another incident in Trelawney, a 29-year-old female was reportedly chopped to death by her boyfriend (Bucknor, 2021)[17]. Domestic violence can lead to physical, psychological (suicide attempts, depression, anxiety, fear, low self-esteem, and post-traumatic stress disorder) and sexual injuries, significant public health consequences. It impacts other family members in addition to the victim. Children, who witness violence in the home, including extreme violence possibly culminating in the mothers’ death, may experience lifetime trauma.

To address the lack of safety initiatives for women, the Jamaica Constabulary Force (JDF) released a statement reaffirming its commitment to lessening domestic violence incidents through educating and empowering citizens to report incidences of domestic violence. The JDF has committed to the investigation of all reported domestic violence cases. They also said a "recent expansion of its domestic violence intervention (DVI) centres to St. Thomas, and others are on the way" (JDF, 2020). Because of the disturbing local trend of domestic violence among Jamaican women, researchers sought to evaluate domestic violence against Jamaican women during the COVID-19 pandemic for this current study. Due to the mounting statistics, a need exist to explore further the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on domestic violence against women.


This study employed a web-based, non-probability, cross-sectional and association research design (Babbie, 2010; Creswell, 2013; Neuman, 2014; Polit, 1996; Rea and Parker, 2014). Researchers evaluated domestic violence among Jamaican women during the COVID-19 pandemic [18]. Quantitative research refers to strategies, techniques and assumption used to study psychological, social and economic processes by observing numeric patterns. The primary purpose of quantitative research is to generate knowledge and create understanding about the social world (Allen, 2017; Creswell, 2013; Neuman, 2014)[19].

Using statistics from the Statistical Institute of Jamaica (2021) on the population of Jamaican women ages 18+ years (1,058, 420), a sample size was computed by way of a 95% confidence interval and four per cent margin of error (i.e., 600). Researchers collected data for the survey between May 30 and June 21, 2021. A total of 513 (85.5%) successful responses from Jamaican women over 18 years and older living in different parishes of the three Jamaican counties of Cornwall, Middlesex and Surrey served as data for further analysis to answer the research questions. The instrument was an adaptation of one developed by Jones (2021) to assess stress among Jamaicans.

Using survey distribution via telecommunications, researchers obtained the sample target of 600 women in Jamaica. Researchers disseminated messages containing the link to the survey via text messages, emails, and WhatsApp. The participants received information about the purpose of the research. Participants received instructions on completing the survey. Study participants had to be 18 years or older and a female living in Jamaica to participate. The survey provided anonymity, so participants were not required to disclose any personal information. Informed consent was implied based on the participants that completed the survey.

Random sampling was the technique applied in this research study. This technique allows each participant to have an equal chance of being chosen. Additionally, it provides for the research process to be fair and unbiased. Using telecommunications to distribute the survey allowed the researchers to promptly reach the target sample while adhering to COVID-19 restrictions. The data was collected and analyzed using the Statistical Packages for the Social Sciences (SPSS) for Windows, Version 25.0.


The demographic characteristics of the sampled respondents (N=513 females across Jamaica). Most of the females were between 18-25 years old (60.7%), 38.2% were students who completed tertiary level of education (60.4%) and resided in urban areas (59.1%) (Table 1).

Details % (n)
Age group  
18-25 years 60.7 (306)
26-33 years 28.8 (28.8)
34-41 years 8.1 (8.1)
42+ years 2.4 (2.4)
Employment Status   
Unemployed  11.4(58)
Self-employed  13.8(70)
Employed by the public or private sector  34(175)
Student  38.2(194)
Other  2.2(11)
Highest level of education completed  
None 0.2 (1)
Primary 1.6 (1.6)
Secondary 23.8 (121)
Vocational training 14.0 (71)
Tertiary 60.4 (307)
Rural  59.1(298)
Urban  40.9(206)

Table 1: Issues faced during the COVID-19 pandemic by the sample Respondents, N=500.

It reveals that 49.3% of women believed that men were the head of the household. Primary victims of domestic violence were 31.7%, while 60.8% of the respondents know victims of domestic violence; 63.5% of perpetrators of domestic violence were boyfriends, followed by husbands (18.2%). Some respondents were not predisposed to alcohol use (9.6%), smoking (15.4%), gambling (3.2%) or recreational drugs (2.8%); 20.9% experienced physical abuse; 41.5% of individuals selected that social service interventions are the best recommendation to alleviate domestic violence against Jamaican women (Table 2).

Details  % (n)
Head of household   
Yes  49.3(248)
No  5.2(26)
Both men and women are equal  45.5(229)
Victim of Domestic Violence   
Yes  31.7(160)
No  68.3(345)
Know a victim of domestic violence  
Yes  60.8(307)
No  39.2(198)
Relationship with abuser   
 Boyfriend 63.5 (101)
 Husband 18.2 (29)
Family Member 18.2 (29)
Risk Factors   
 Smoking 54.6 (77)
Gambling 11.3 (16)
Alcohol use 34.0 (48)
Type of Violence Experienced by Victim  
Physical violence 60.0 (108)
Sexual violence 8.9 (16)
Emotional violence 31.1 (56)
Provide Social Service intervention  41.5(211)
Investing in increasing psychological services  34.4(175)

Establishing a digital platform for victims 


Table 2: General issues related to domestic violence against women in Jamaica.

It indicated being victims of domestic violence (n=160, 31.7%), marginally more reported that these acts have occurred at least frequently during the COVID-19 pandemic (53.1%) compared to before this period (49.0%) (Figure 1).


Figure 1: Victims of domestic violence by a domestic period of violent acts.

COVID-19 measures impacted 90.3% of women experiencing domestic violence; 57.8% believed harsh economic conditions contributed to domestic violence against Jamaican women during the COVID-19 pandemic. While 81.3% thought that the COVID-19 pandemic affected the provision of essential services for victims, 70.7% of victims did not report domestic violence to the police, and 22.5% of the respondents agreed that the COVID-19 pandemic affected their relationship with their sexual partners (Table 3).

Details  %(n)
COVID-19 measures affect Victims   
Yes  90.3(454)
No  9.7(49)
Reasons for increased domestic violence during COVID-19   
Stress   34.6(154)
 Harsh Economic conditions (poverty, unemployment)  57.8(257)
Previous exposure to abuse  7.6(34)
COVID-19 pandemic affects the provision of essential services for victims   
Yes   81.3(409)
No  18.7(94)
Reports of domestic violence   
Yes  29.3(147)
No  70.7(355)
COVID-19 pandemic affects sexual Relationship   
Strongly Agree  12.7(63)
Agree  22.5(112)
Neutral  22.1(110)
Disagree  19.1(95)
Strongly Disagree  16.9(84)
Not Applicable  6.6(33)

Table 3: Selected issues related to the COVID-19 pandemic.

A cross-tabulation between the victims of domestic violence and perpetrators being exposed to domestic violence. The cross-tabulation revealed that there was a significant statistical relationship between the two variables mentioned above P<0.0001). The findings revealed that 89.7% of the respondents (victims) believed their partners were exposed to domestic violence during childhood compared to 50.9% of respondents who did not think their partners experienced domestic violence (Table 4).

Details The perception that the perpetrator was exposed to domestic violence   Total
No Yes
Victim of domestic violence % (n) % (n) % (n)
     No 49.1 (27) 10.3 (14) 21.5 (41)
     Yes 50.9 (28) 89.7 (122) 78.5 (150)
Total 55 136 191

Table 4: Cross-tabulation between the victim of domestic violence and perpetrator being   exposed to domestic violence

A cross-tabulation between being a victim of domestic violence and selected demographic variables. Those women in the study who are victims of domestic violence were found to be younger (18-25 years old, 41.5%), employed (46.9%), dwelled in rural areas (68.8%), and educated (tertiary level, 53.8%) (Table 5).

Details Victim of domestic violence Total
  No Yes % (n)
Age group1 % (n) % (n)  
18-25 years 69.5(237) 41.5 (66) 60.6 (303
26-33 years 23.8 (81) 39.6 (63) 28.8 (144
 34-41 years 4.4 (15) 16.4 (26) 8.2 (41
42+ years 2.3 (8) 2.5 (4) 2.4 (12
Employment status2      
Student 49.7(171) 13.8 (22) 38.3(193)
Unemployed 11.6 (40) 10.6 (17) 11.3 (57)
Employed 28.8 (99) 46.9 (75) 34.5(174)
Self Employed 7.3 (25) 27.5 (44) 13.7 (69)
Other 2.6 (9) 1.3 (2) 2.2 (11)
Area of residence3      
Urban 45.5(155) 31.3 (50) 40.9(205)
Rural 54.5(186) 68.8(110) 59.1(296)
Head of household4      
No 4.1 (14 7.6 (12) 5.2 (26)
Yes 47.8 (163 52.5 (83) 49.3(246)
Both 48.1 (164 39.9 (63) 45.5(227)
Educational level5      
None 0.0 (0) 0.6 (1) 0.2 (1)
Primary 0.6 (2) 3.8 (6) 1.6 (8)
Secondary 24.7 (85) 21.3 (34) 23.6(119)
Vocational training 11.0 (38) 20.6 (33) 14.1 (71)
Tertiary 63.7(219) 53.8 (86) 60.5(305)

Table 5: Cross-tabulation of victims of domestic violence and selected demographic   characteristics.

The respondents' views of the relationship between the abuser and the abused victim with a statistical relationship between the variables P=0.002). Based on the views of victims of domestic violence, the majority of the cases involved boyfriends as the perpetrators (98%) compared to husbands (89.7%) and 79.3% of family members (Table 6).

Details The perpetrator of domestic violence Total
  Boyfriend Husband Family Member
Victims of domestic
% (n) % (n) % (n) % (n)
No 2.0 (2) 10.3 (3) 20.7 (6) 6.9 (11)
Yes 98.0 (99) 89.7 (26) 79.3(23) 93.1(148)
Total 101 29 29 159

Table 6: Cross-tabulation between being a victim of domestic violence and perpetrator of   the violence.

A cross-tabulation between the victims of domestic violence and whether the COVID-19 pandemic affected their relationship with their sexual partners. Those who indicated being victims of domestic violence were more likely to agree with the statement that "The COVID-19 pandemic affected your relationship with your sexual partner" (67.6%) compared to non-victims of domestic violence (23.8%,( 4)=89.704, P<0.0001) (Table 7).

Details Victim of domestic violence Total
  No Yes % (n)
The COVID-19 pandemic affected your relationship with your sexual partner.      
Strongly disagree 21.7 (62) 3.2 (5) 15.1 (67)
Disagree 26.9 (77) 10.8 (17) 21.2 (94)
Neutral 27.6 (79) 18.5 (29) 24.4 (108)
Agree 9.8 (40) 21.7 (72) 14.0 (112)
Strongly agree 14.0 (28) 45.9 (34) 25.3 (62)
Total 286 157 443

Table 7: Cross-tabulation of the impact of COVID-19 on relationships of victims.

A cross-tabulation between the victims of domestic violence and the reasons for increased domestic violence during COVID-19. Of those who indicated having a personality disorder, 63.6% were victims of domestic abuse compared to 23.5% of those with previous exposure to abuse, 29.8% of those who were experiencing harsh economic conditions, and 34.0% of those who were stressed (3)=11.996, P=0.007) (Table 8).

Victims of domestic violence Reasons for increased domestic violence during COVID-19    Total
Stress Harsh economic conditions Previous exposure to abuse Personality disorder
No 66.0(101) 70.2 (179) 76.5 (26) 36.4 (8) 67.7 (314)
Yes 34.0 (52) 29.8 (76) 23.5 (8) 63.6 (14) 32.3 (150)
Total 153 255 34 22 464

Table 8: Cross-tabulation of reasons for increased domestic violence during COVID-19 and  victims.

It depicts a cross-tabulation between being a victim of domestic violence, and the highest level of educational attainment found a significant statistical association (4)= 18.497, P=0.001). Jamaican women with lower educational backgrounds were more likely to be victims of domestic violence than those with greater educational attainment (Table 9).

Experienced domestic violence              The highest level of education attained Total
None Primary Secondary Vocational training Tertiary
No 0.0(0) 25.0 (2) 71.4 (85) 53.5 (38) 71.8(219) 68.3(344)
Yes 1(100) 75.0 (6) 28.6 (34) 46.5 (33) 28.2 (86) 31.7(160)
Total 1 8 119 71 305 504

Table 9: Cross-tabulation between the victims of domestic violence and highest educational   level.

A cross-tabulation of the types of domestic violence and age group, in which the findings showed a significant statistical relationship (4)=18.497, P=0.001). Women ages 42+ years had the lowest rate of physical abuse, which was also the case for those reporting sexual abuse and the most significant rate of emotional abuse (Table 10).

Type of domestic violence do you experience                            Age group Total
18-25 years 26-33 years 34-41 years 42+ years
Physical violence 52.5(42) 62.3(43) 80.8(21) 50.0(2) 60.3(108)
Sexual violence 6.3 (5) 11.6 (8) 11.5 (3) 0.0 (0) 8.9 (16)
Emotional violence 41.3(33) 26.1(18) 7.7 (2) 50.0(2) 30.7(55)
Total 80 69 26 4 179


This study evaluated the prevalence of domestic violence against Jamaican women during the COVID-19 pandemic. The first COVID-19 case occurred on the island in March 2020, which eventually led to an early stage of the outbreak, forcing the Jamaican government to implement restrictive measures to contain the spread. Measures included the closure of schools and some workplaces, total curfew, and lockdowns, which only allowed access to food and other necessities.

However, these containment measures amounted to some unintended negative impacts, such as increased incidences of domestic violence. Though domestic violence was already on a 'meteoric rise' (Gauntlett, 2020), this research explored whether domestic violence has increased or decreased during the COVID-19 pandemic. This research investigated whether domestic violence has increased during the COVID-19 pandemic and the measures and restrictions imposed by the government of Jamaica under the Disaster Risk Management Act.

Researchers collected data from 513 participants. Statistics from reveals that 60.7% were between the ages 18 and 25 years, and 28.8%, 8.1% and 2.4% respectively were between 26 and 33 years, 34 and 41 years and 42+ years. Tertiary level education was the highest level of education achieved. 31.7% of the participants suffer primarily from domestic abuse and more than 60.8% suffered secondarily by knowing a victim of domestic violence. The majority of victims suffer mainly from physical violence (20.9%), with emotional violence (11.2%) being the second highest and sexual violence (3.2%) the least. This research revealed that perpetrators of domestic violence are significantly intimate partners boyfriends (98.0%), and husbands (89.7%) compared to family members (79.3%). The Social Conflict theory supports the results of this study, as perpetrators abuse their partners because of the desire for control over their partner due to unequal distribution of resources (Blessing, 2021). The majority of participants indicated that their perpetrator had been exposed to domestic violence as a child (27%) along with external factors, such as smoking, being the highest (15.4%) and alcohol being the second highest (9.6%).

The study also revealed that the COVID-19 measures and restrictions under the Disaster Risk Management Act imposed by the government of Jamaica to control the spread of the virus affected victims of domestic abuse. Consequently, 90.3% of participants agreed that the COVID-19 measures affected them by preventing them from accessing essential services, as reported by 81.3% of the respondents. As a result, 41.5% of the respondents recommended that the government provide social service intervention, such as counselling and advocacy for victims and alternate living environments.

This study revealed that the pandemic had affected victims of domestic violence, with the majority (81.3%) agreeing that it affected their access to essential services (e.g. police, health care and counselling) due to the COVID-19 measures and restrictions imposed by the government of Jamaica. In addition, the results showed that the number of abuses was under-reported. Several participants (70.7%) did not report their domestic abuse or ones they had witnessed. There is substantial evidence in support of these findings.

According to Vilic (2020), as cited in Mullapudi and Petikam (2021), restricted movement affected essential services and counselling sessions due to social distancing, thus necessitating phone calls, webinars, and emails as alternate methods of communication, which contributed to a decline in victims' requests for help. Evans, Lindauer and Farrell (2020) state that victims might live in areas with unreliable internet or cellular service or close to abusers who may be eavesdropping, making it difficult for the victim to disclose the abuse. Moreover, Mullapudi and Petikam (2021) argued that the absence of efficient resources to seek help had increased victims' difficulties in facing the wrath of violence, evidenced by the fact that mandated reporters have limited opportunities to recognize, assess and report signs of abuse.


The hypothesis and research questions prompted the researchers to carry out two cross-tabulations which also supported the hypothesis from the results of the cross-tabulation. Twenty-three per cent of the respondents "rarely" experienced domestic violence before the COVID-19 pandemic, but are frequently experiencing domestic violence now. Similarly, 79.6% of women experienced domestic violence during and frequently after the COVID-19 pandemic. As mentioned earlier, the findings indicated a statistical relationship between the two variables (765.630, df=16, p=000.<0.05, with the critical value being 26.30). Also, illustrates that 59% of the respondents believed that the COVID-19 measures and harsh economic conditions contributed to increased possibilities of abuse.

Moreover, there was a statistical relationship between the two variables above (10.566, df=2, p=0.005<0.05) with a critical value of 5.991. If the Chi-square value is greater than the critical value, the researchers reject the null hypothesis. Since both cross-tabulations had a greater Chi-square value, the researchers rejected both null hypotheses.

Reports of increased domestic violence during the COVID-19 pandemic occurred globally. Mullapudi and Petikam (2021) stated that domestic violence incidents increased 300% in Hubei, China; 25% in Argentina; 30% in Cyprus; 33% in Singapore; and 50% in Brazil. These results support the current findings of this study among Jamaican women 18 years or older. Furthermore, based on the findings in this present study there is a direct correlation between domestic violence and the COVID-19 pandemic, with a significant increase in domestic violence among Jamaican women during the COVID-19 pandemic and associated measures.

In light of these current findings and the recent publicized incidents of violence against women, it is imperative that the Jamaican government institute immediate safety measures for women of domestic violence. One such step could be to ensure and support the completion of the DVI centres the JDF is committed to establishing through the island. Long-term efforts through strategic, collaborative, and innovative approaches are also essential in mitigating the rising occurrences of violence toward women. One such attempt may be establishing a system where women feel safe to report their abuse he witnesses abuse, thus impacting reporting accuracy. Further research is needed to study this population further. Future studies should consider the impact of domestic violence among other vulnerable groups and other age groups. Domestic violence not only threatens women's lives but unravels the very fabric of society, which makes it the duty of the collective Jamaican culture to demand effective measures leading to positive change.


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Author Info

Paul Andrew Bourne1*, Affia Palmer2, Brianna Brady2, Racquel Swaby2, Dwayne Malcolm2, James Fallah3, Calvin Campbell4, Clifton Foster5, Caroline McLean2 and Monique White6
1Department of Institutional Research, Northern Caribbean University, Mandeville, Manchester, Jamaica, West Indies
2Department of Nursing, Northern Caribbean University, Mandeville, Manchester, West Indies
3Department of Dental Hygiene, Northern Caribbean University, Mandeville, Manchester, Jamaica, West Indies
4Department of Mathematics and Engineering, Northern Caribbean University, Mandeville, Manchester, Jamaica, West Indies
5Department of Biology, Chemistry, and Environmental Sciences, Northern Caribbean University, Mandeville, Manchester, Jamaica, West Indies
6Departmemt of Medicine, Northern Caribbean University, Mandeville, Manchester, Jamaica, West Indies

Received: 03-Sep-2021 Published: 30-Sep-2021

Copyright:This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.