Among the many tragic consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic, authorities around the world have reported significant increases in cases of domestic violence, with many victims now stuck inside with their abusers, limiting their means of escape.
The increases have been reported in almost all regions - Brazil estimates that it's seen a 50% increase in domestic violence cases, New Zealand police and support agencies have seen calls regarding family harm jump 20%, while a UN-commissioned report estimates that a 20% increase in domestic violence cases stands across all of its member states.
It's a frightening, and horrendous side-effect of the broader mitigation efforts, and while the lockdowns will improve the safety of the many, the few, unfortunately, will suffer. Which is why this new initiative from Snapchat is so important.
This week, Snapchat has announced a new partnership with the National Network to End Domestic Violence (NNEDV) to provide resources for Snapchatters who are dealing with domestic abuse, or are seeking support for friends or loved ones who are.
As you can see in the above images, the new resources will incorporated into Snapchat's 'Here For You' community help feature, which it released back in February. Here For You is accessible via in-app search for related terms - when a user searches, for example, 'abuse', they'll be connected to a range of resources to assist with various concerns and circumstances.
It's obviously a very difficult area in which to provide generic support, but via its partnership with NNEDV, Snapchat will provide a range of links and tips to help users connect to essential services to assist. All content will also be available with subtitles for Snapchatters who don’t feel comfortable or safe viewing with sound on.
As noted, given the current increases in domestic violence, in practically all regions, this is an important, and significant initiative, and if it helps just one Snapchat user to escape from an abusive situation, it's definitely worth the effort.
The new resources will be available to US users from today.