Monash University
Disconnected & Insecure (2023) Final Report.pdf (4.84 MB)

Disconnected & Insecure: The intersection between experiences of long COVID and intimate partner violence

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posted on 2024-01-19, 05:50 authored by Kate Fitz-GibbonKate Fitz-Gibbon, Jasmine McGowanJasmine McGowan, Naomi PfitznerNaomi Pfitzner, Ben Scott

Despite well-established evidence of the increased risk of IPV during the first two years of the pandemic, to date there has been no global research examining how victim-survivors’ experiences of long COVID uniquely impact their safety and support needs. Recognising that this critical global issue intersects with public health, women’s economics and safety priorities, this project sought to address this significant gap in current knowledge in Australia and internationally.

This report seeks to put the interpersonal safety and support needs of individuals diagnosed with long COVID on the political agenda. Globally, no attention has been paid to the intersection between long COVID and intimate partner violence. This is staggering, given that past research documents that victim-survivors of IPV against women are twice as likely to develop long-term illnesses, including chronic fatigue syndrome and fibromyalgia (Chandan et al., 2023). The significance of this project’s findings lies in its ambition to make visible the previously unseen impacts of long COVID on individuals living with domestic violence.

Specifically, this project aimed to generate new evidence on the intersection between long COVID and IPV. The project was framed by four key research questions:

  1. For victim-survivors of IPV diagnosed with long COVID, did their partner’s violence occur for the first time or change in nature following their long COVID diagnosis?
  2. Do individuals living with long COVID experience different risks, patterns of abuse and/or new forms of IPV?
  3. What are the impacts of living with long COVID on the help-seeking experiences of victim-survivors of IPV? – including, how does living with long COVID impact victim-survivors’ access to, and engagement with, support services?
  4. How can policy and practice best adapt to meet the safety and recovery needs of individuals living with long COVID who are experiencing IPV?

This project utilised an anonymous national online survey to undertake the first Australian study of the intersection between long COVID and intimate partner violence. It sought to build new knowledge about the risks, nature and impacts of violence, help-seeking behaviours, and service and support needs. While the data was solely collected in Australia, the findings from this study are relevant internationally.

Throughout the report, we draw heavily on direct quotes from the victim-survivors who participated in this study. Our aim is to centre their experiences and ensure that it is their voices that drive the analysis and findings.