(Email communication from the Canadian Centre on Substance Use and Addiction)
Women are experiencing increased rates of intimate partner violence during the COVID-19 pandemic. Forty-six per cent of service providers and volunteers report increases in the prevalence and severity of violence. We know these increases are having a severe impact on women’s mental and physical health. We also know that substance use has increased among some groups during the pandemic. The relationship between substance use and intimate partner violence is complex and can affect either partner. Substance use can increase aggression in a perpetrator, while survivors of intimate partner violence may use substances as a coping mechanism.
The Canadian Centre on Substance Use and Addiction and the Centre of Excellence for Women’s Health have released three products dealing with intimate partner violence for service organizations and healthcare workers. They identify changes in practice to aid women trying to deal with these shifting trends in intimate partner violence and substance use.
- Linking Practices on Intimate Partner Violence and Substance Use during COVID-19
- Action on Women’s Experience of Intimate Partner Violence and Substance Use in the COVID-19 Context
- COVID-19, Intimate Partner Violence and Substance Use
Key findings for practices that are based on the latest knowledge include:
- Enhancing safety practices with women,
- Recognizing readiness for change,
- Building on the strengths of women,
- Reducing stigma about substance use,
- Addressing the social determinants of health,
- Promoting mental wellness, and
- Preventing substance use harms.
We encourage you to share these resources with your networks and colleagues. For more information, please see the associated evidence review conducted by the Centre of Excellence for Women’s Health.