Czech social services reported an increase in domestic violence cases up to 40 percent during the first massive lockdown.

According to the research, the system of support for the victims should be improved, so that victims can feel comfortable reporting the violence.

“During the pandemic, we saw an increase in intensity and demand for services. The increase continues to this day. Helping vulnerable people is inconsistent. The approach differs from person to person,” Blanka Nyklová, one of the authors of the research from the Institute of Sociology of the Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic and Dana Moree from the Faculty of Humanities at Charles University, explained.

Nyklová added that domestic violence should be taken more seriously, otherwise it can lead to dangerous consequences. Currently, the police and social services report obvious physical cases rather than psychological or sexual violence. 

The research was based on the diaries and interviews of 71 social workers who worked with the victims. The report also included discussions with police workers, doctors, and social workers from other non-commercial centers. Lawyers and officials were interviewed at the last stage of the research. 

The authors noticed three various models of the relationship between victims and the social workers, police, and the crisis centers. Two of them are functioning, while the last one explains certain situations in which the victim receives no help neither from the police nor from social workers. 

In some cases, the victims would still feel pressure from the abuser even without sharing living space. Most of the victims who’ve experienced abuse for years contacted the center after the first lockdown was over. However, still, not all cases are reported.

The research recommends improving the system which will help victims to fight their abusers. They want to add more definitions of domestic abuse and violence. The results of the research will be sent to the government’s committee for the prevention of domestic violence and violence against women.

The lockdown in the Czech Republic is continuing. The first serious lockdown happened from March until May, the second one – from September until February. This Monday, the government decided to prolong the lockdown until March 1.