A Ticking Time Bomb of Future Harm: Lockdown, Child Abuse and Future Violence

Anthony Ellis, Daniel Briggs, Anthony Lloyd, Luke Telford

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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.
Original languageEnglish
JournalAbuse: An International Impact Journal
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2021


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