The Impact of the COVID-19 Pandemic on Gender-Based Violence in the United States: Framework and Policy Recommendations

Agnes Rieger, Allyson M. Blackburn, Jonathan B. Bystrynski, Rachel C. Garthe, Nicole E. Allen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objective: In response to the 2019 novel coronavirus pandemic, portions of the U.S. government implemented social distancing policies that, while necessary, yield unintended consequences. This article explores how risk for gender-based violence (GBV) has been exacerbated across the social-ecological model (SEM; e.g., by increasing economic stress and decreasing social support) and highlights differential impact across social locations (e.g., considering race, gender, social class). Method: Drawing on gender-based violence prevention and response research, considerations for researchers, policymakers, and practitioners are delineated. Results: A comprehensive framework adapting an intersectional lens and the SEM is used to explain the changes in risk and protective factors for GBV. Policy recommendations that serve to augment (not replace) social distancing policies are proposed. Conclusion: The pandemic has uprooted life in a way that impacts GBV prevention and response. Yet, this is also an opportunity to define a new way forward rather than return to “business as usual”; psychologists should strive to improve social services by utilizing the SEM and intersectionality.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)471-479
Number of pages9
JournalPsychological Trauma: Theory, Research, Practice, and Policy
Issue number3
StatePublished - 2022


  • Covid-19
  • Gender-based violence
  • Intersectionality
  • Social-ecological model
  • Systems response

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Psychology
  • Social Psychology


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