A Ticking Time Bomb of Future Harm? Lockdown, child abuse and future violence

Ellis, Anthony, Briggs, Daniel, Lloyd, Anthony and Telford, Luke (2021) A Ticking Time Bomb of Future Harm? Lockdown, child abuse and future violence. Abuse: An International Impact Journal, 2 (1). pp. 37-48. ISSN 2633-8742

Full content URL: https://doi.org/10.37576/abuse.2021.017

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Item Type:Article
Item Status:Live Archive


The Covid-19 pandemic and the implementation of national lockdowns has generated significant changes in the citizenry’s material realities. Although the efficacy of lockdown is yet to be determined, emerging evidence points to a rise in unintended harms, such as increased child abuse and neglect. Indeed, reported incidences of child abuse in many countries across the world have increased as at-risk children are confined to their dwelling for significant periods of time with a violent perpetrator. Drawing on recently developed theories that indicate a mediated causal link between childhood trauma and a commitment to violent behaviour in later life, particularly in young men, this article claims lockdown may be an unintended ‘violence generating mechanism’ that might potentially manifest itself in increased violent outbursts in the future. First, the article briefly outlines how lockdowns have impacted upon societies. It then explores the statistical upsurge in child abuse and neglect, including afar as Croatia, South Africa, New Zealand, China, Uganda, Nepal and the United Kingdom. The paper closes with a discussion of the empirical evidence that demonstrates a link between childhood trauma and violence in later life, concluding that lockdowns may act as a ticking time bomb of future harm.

Keywords:Covid-19, lockdown, Child abuse, Violence, Trauma
Subjects:L Social studies > L390 Sociology not elsewhere classified
Divisions:College of Social Science > School of Social & Political Sciences
ID Code:47904
Deposited On:05 Apr 2022 10:50

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