Global Social Welfare
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Background: Strict public health measures central to slowing the spread of COVID-19 have, unintentionally, exacerbated risks for women experiencing intimate partner violence (IPV) while impeding their usual coping strategies. The goal of this study was to understand how coping was influenced by COVID-19 for women who have experienced IPV and identify changes in coping strategies and gaps that need to be addressed to support coping. Methods: A qualitatively driven, sequential, cross-sectional design, where quantitative data informed and was embedded within qualitative data collection, was used to explore the experiences of IPV (CAS-R-SF scale) and coping (Brief-COPE scale) specific to IPV of 95 Canadian women. A subset of 19 women was invited to complete an interview exploring coping strategies identified within the survey to contextualize and validate these findings. Results: Survey data subjected to quantitative content analysis identified ten themes, all of which were explored in semi-structured interviews. Thematic interview findings included (1) influence of COVID-19 on coping, (2) coping during COVID-19, and (3) needed coping strategies. Conclusion: COVID-19 had important impacts on the experiences and coping strategies of women who experience IPV. To better support this population in pandemic circumstances, in-person services should be prioritized with an emphasis on accessible and empathetic care. Public health measures in response to COVID-19, and the eventuality of future pandemics, should aim to be gender- and violence-informed.