O’Hara Caitlin Alsandria, Tan Rayner Kay Jin (2022) Intimate partner violence before and during the COVID-19 lockdown: findings from a cross-sectional study in Singapore. Sexual Health, https://doi.org/10.1071/SH21229
Background: The coronavirus diseases 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic resulted in lockdowns worldwide, with reports suggesting a concomitant increase in the incidence of intimate partner violence (IPV). This study was part of the International Sexual and Reproductive Health (I-SHARE) Consortium, examining IPV and its correlates before and during lockdown in April 2020.
Methods: This cross-sectional observational study, conducted online during August–September 2020, recruited 259 participants from Singapore who reported having a steady partner. Alongside socio-demographic data before and during COVID-19 lockdown, the respondents self-reported their encounters with partner violence. Partner violence was measured using an adapted six-item version of the WHO IPV scale.
Results: Data revealed an incidence of 17.2%, 25.0%, 16.7%, 17.6%, 17.5% and 18.5% of restriction of contact with others, verbal abuse, restriction of access to finances, physical violence, pressured sex and forced sex, respectively, before COVID-19 lockdown. During lockdown, incidences of these forms of violence were 17.4%, 19.8%, 14.7%, 13.5%, 14.7% and 15.2%, respectively. Multivariable analyses showed that being younger, being non-heterosexual, and having more children and adolescents at home were significantly associated with partner violence both before and during lockdown. Analyses also revealed that being of Chinese ethnicity and having a monthly income above SGD3000 were not significantly correlated to partner violence before lockdown but emerged as significant during lockdown.
Conclusions: Some sociodemographic factors were associated with violence regardless of lockdown, while other factors were exacerbated by lockdown. Interventions should consider these key correlates of partner-based violence, ensuring adequate and appropriate support for vulnerable populations both within and outside of lockdown contexts.