COVID-19 has brought forth a variety of issues for the country to address: access to healthcare, racial equity, and educational opportunity. However, one unforeseen and lesser acknowledged consequence of this virus is the pandemic of domestic abuse which has raged across the country. With Wisconsin’s COVID-19 infection rates regularly fluctuating, there is little certainty regarding when the state and regular business functions will return back to normal. For survivors of domestic abuse, especially women, this experience has brought forth a multitude of life-threatening challenges to combat in addition to staying physically healthy. “We are already seeing that people losing their jobs and not having a lot of income is creating a lot of stress for families and amplifying these issues,” said Shannon Barry, Executive Director of Domestic Abuse Intervention Services (DAIS), a Madison-based non-profit which has served victims of domestic abuse since 1977.
During the 2008 Recession, the center experienced a 107 percent increase in people reaching out for shelter services, Barry said.