en POLSKI
eISSN: 2300 - 8660
ISSN: 0031-3939
Pediatria Polska - Polish Journal of Paediatrics
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2/2022
vol. 97
 
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abstract:
Original paper

COVID-19 lockdown and domestic violence in Poland – an analysis of crisis helpline and Google data

Karena Dzwonnik
1
,
Oliver Sowulewski
1
,
Magdalena Dettlaff-Dunowska
2
,
Przemysław M. Waszak
3
,
Agnieszka Szlagatys-Sidorkiewicz
2
,
Katarzyna Plata-Nazar
2

1.
Department of Paediatrics, Gastroenterology, Allergology, and Nutrition, Copernicus PL, Gdansk, Poland
2.
Department of Paediatrics, Gastroenterology, Allergology, and Paediatric Nutrition, Medical University of Gdansk, Poland
3.
Department of Hygiene and Epidemiology, Medical University of Gdansk, Poland
Pediatr Pol 2022; 97 (2): 111-117
Online publish date: 2022/06/10
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Introduction
Following the introduction of COVID-19 lockdown, studies have shown an increase in domestic violence in many countries. The aim of the study was to assess the frequency of seeking domestic violence information and support during the initial COVID-19 lockdown (March – April 2020) in Poland.

Material and methods
We analysed searches for information on domestic violence on Google and the use of the domestic violence crisis helpline in the lockdown period compared to previous years. Google search terms were selected by the authors of the paper and then the frequency of searches performed in March and April 2020 and in the corresponding months of 2015–2019 were determined using the Google Trends tool. Additionally, we compared the data obtained from the national helpline Blue Line in March – April 2020 vs. the corresponding months in 2019.

Results
An increase in the number of reports of domestic violence was observed in comparison to the previous year (+6.9%), with the largest increase in the number of reports by email (+77.7%). At the same time, the number of reports from persons under 18 years old was lower (–48.5%). An increase in reports of both physical and psychological violence was observed. Google Trends data showed an increase in searches for ‘psychological help’ and a decrease in searches for domestic violence and addiction (p < 0.05).

Conclusions
The presented results highlight a potential short-term increase of domestic violence during COVID-19 lockdown periods, with growing importance of Internet-based tools for seeking help (e-mails, and web search engines to a lesser extent).

keywords:

COVID-19, domestic violence, lockdown, children