Disaster Without, Disaster Within: Natural Disasters and Family Violence

Disaster Without, Disaster Within: Natural Disasters and Family Violence
Duration: 60 Minutes
Module 1Module 1
Recorded on: 2021-04-08
Unit 1Slide Deck: Disaster Without, Disaster Within
Unit 2Transcript: Disaster Without, Disaster Within
Unit 3Workbook: Disaster Without, Disaster Within
Unit 4Recording: Disaster Without, Disaster Within

There are risk factors for family violence. This includes financial conditions, level of unemployment, and educational background – things that we can control or manage in one way or another. Natural disasters, however, have an equalizing effect when it comes to posing risk for likelihood for family violence – as anyone can be affected by it and it is inherently a stressful situation to be in. The pandemic we’re in right now is no different, and everyone at home is at risk – including children and pets.

Andrew Campbell is back on the Justice Clearinghouse to discuss how natural disasters can give rise to disasters within the homes. Andrew is the CEO and Founder of Campbell Research & Consulting. He is an expert in domestic violence with a unique perspective combining personal experiences and a data-driven approach to develop effective community responses to physical and emotional violence.

Specifics discussed include:

  • Analysis of relevant literature and recent research that unpack how natural disasters cause stress, drive abuse, increase victim isolation, and keep victims away from resources.
  • Natural disasters – their frequency, the damage it entails on communities, and their prolonged impact on those affected in terms of access to resources, mental health consequences, and displacement.
  • The three-pronged approach against family violence which unfortunately isn’t disaster-proof.
  • Review of literature on natural disasters that outlines how snowstorms, earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, flooding, hurricanes, and the pandemic influence family violence.
  • Dissecting the circumstances within these natural disasters that creates risks such as isolation, limited supplies, anxiety, and inaccessibility of resources.
  • Case studies of some of the most prominent natural disasters that highlight how these events impacted victimization, abuse, aggression, and domestic violence.
  • The concept of the human-animal bond and how people experience these natural disasters and violence at home alongside their pets which become their source of love and support.
  • The reality that humans are willing to risk their lives for their pets and how this should be considered in disaster and critical incident planning to create a protective factor by including pets in the safety plan.
  • How lessons learned in Hurricane Katrina paved the way for the PETS Act providing communities with funding to account for the needs of individuals with household pets and service animals.
  • Viewing the COVID-19 pandemic as a disaster in slow motion that poses the same challenges and risks as any natural disaster.
  • Andrew’s published research that deep-dives into how COVID-19 and measures to curb its spread result in irregularities in the reporting of DV, child abuse, and animal cruelty incidents.
  • The Opportunity to Abuse theory that proposes devoid of the common risk factors, it is the proximity of a capable abuser to a vulnerable victim over time that drives abuse.
  • A look into the usual entities and individuals that typically reduce the risk of abuse that are now unable to access the victims.
  • Fortifying the barriers to abuse by engaging more community members who can access homes where abuse is happening, and innovative strategies that empower victims to report and leave abusive homes.

Questions at the end of the webinar were about:

  • Andrew’s upcoming book.
  • Mental health initiatives to address this intersection of family violence and natural disasters.
  • Statistics on animal cruelty.


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Resources and Handouts


Audience Comments

  • “Great data! I very much appreciate this!” — Denise
  • “I found it very interesting that there is a direct increase in family/domestic violence during, and after natural disasters, including the Covid Pandemic. Also, being an animal lover myself, I found it very touching that humans will risk their own lives to save their pets during a disaster.” — Brenda
  • “I had never thought about displacement and how that affects being able to stay in contact with victims and especially with children. I also didn’t think about this occurring during the pandemic as people were losing jobs and possibly housing. I also think we will probably see more results from this as time goes on once unemployment benefits run out for individuals.” — Kathy
  • “All of his examples and stats made it very real and easy to be able to inform others as well. Thanks, Andrew.” — Connie
  • “I thought it was interesting how he talked about the animals and rate of abuse with their owners/animals. And how it correlated with different disasters that have taken place over time.” — Edward
  • “This was incredibly valuable. As a disaster responder with a national NGO focused on animals in disasters, the connection to domestic violence is critical for us to be aware of as we interact with communities during and in the immediate aftermath of disasters.” — Jenne
  • “I liked some of the tips/ideas Andrew had for ways to identify DV when individuals are isolated.” — Kelsey
  • “I learned about the things that we often forget about in a safety plan, such as pets and cases of natural disaster. I think this was a very interesting topic. This was probably the most informational and. interesting webinar that I have watched in awhile. I think another webinar that might go with the ideas herein would be a webinar on the actual safety planning part (what questions to ask, what resources for a natural disaster are available, how to develop a partnership with local shelters for victims’ pet.” — Katlynn
  • “Extremely well done- Thank you Andrew- the information was well organized, easily understood and so very relevant to the current state of our world. Great job!!” — Noreen



** This webinar has been certified by the National Sheriffs' Association and may be eligible for Continuing Education Units through your POST. Please consult your local certification processes for additional details. Paid subscribers that attend will be able to download a jointly issued attendance certificate that includes the National Sheriffs' Association logo.
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