The risk of COVID-19 in survivors of domestic violence and abuse

BMC Medicine - Journal Article

A 'shadow pandemic' of domestic violence and abuse (DVA) has emerged secondary to strict public health measures containing the spread of SARS-CoV-2. Many countries have implemented policies to allow the free movement of DVA survivors in attempts to minimise their exposure to abusive environments. Although these policies are well received, as a result there is a possibility of increased COVID-19 transmission within this vulnerable group who are not currently prioritised for vaccination. Therefore, we aimed to compare the risk of developing suspected or confirmed COVID-19 in women (aged over 16 years) exposed to DVA against age-sex-matched unexposed controls, following adjustment for known COVID-19 risk factors. A population-based retrospective open cohort study was undertaken between the 31 January 2020 and 28 February 2021 using 'The Health Improvement Network' database. We identified 10,462 eligible women exposed to DVA who were matched to 41,467 similarly aged unexposed women. Following adjustment for key covariates, women exposed to DVA were at an increased risk (aHR 1.57; 95% CI 1.29-1.90) of suspected/confirmed COVID-19 compared to unexposed women. These findings support previous calls for positive policy action improving DVA surveillance and prioritising survivors for COVID-19 vaccination.Copyright © 2021, The Author(s).

J. S. Chandan, A. Subramanian, J. K. Chandan, K. M. Gokhale, A. Vitoc, J. Taylor, C. Bradbury-Jones, S. Bandyopadhyay, K. Nirantharakumar
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