Remaining at home and staying six feet apart may encourage domestic violence including those actions that do not involve physical contact. Aside from striking, shouting and hurling objects, abuse can also occur when an individual attempts to control a spouse’s computer and mobile devices. 

An abusive individual could begin to feel threatened when a spouse interacts with friends and family online. For many people, however, keeping in touch with others is a way to feel safe and connected to others during a time of mandated social distancing. 

As reported by Nonprofit Quarterly, establishing an online safety network through videos, text messages and phone chats can help alleviate stay-at-home stress and isolation anxiety. Several advocacy groups also provide specialized online resources for isolated and abused spouses to connect with. 

Controlling external communications 

Communicating with a support network could increase an abusive spouse’s feelings of anger, resentment or jealously. An enraged spouse may lash out and attempt to stop or limit any outside contact. 

An aggrieved individual may also monitor a spouse’s emails and text messages. Perceptions of cheating or dishonesty could cause an individual to act out in destructive ways, such as breaking a laptop or mobile phone. 

Breaking personal property 

Destruction of personal property can result in arrest and criminal charges. Removing a violent individual from his or her own home, however, requires contacting law enforcement officials. 

A spouse may need to file a request for a partner’s removal through a court-issued restraining order. According to the Rhode Island Coalition Against Domestic Violence, a judge may approve an order in situations where sexual or physical abuse and threats of hostility pose a danger. Violating a protective order may result in a fine or imprisonment up to one year.