UIC Barcelona holds an expert seminar on domestic and gender-based violence in the context of COVID-19

Gender-based violence is accompanied by cases of domestic violence affecting children and rising tensions in the professional sphere due to remote work and the second shift.

On Monday 14 December, the expert seminar "Managing relationships in the post-COVID era" was held at UIC Barcelona. The online event, organised by the Equality Unit as part of the "State Pact against Gender-based Violence", addressed new forms of violence emerging under the pandemic: violence against women, minors and dependants. The underlying causes are increased levels of stress, uncertainty, work pressures and lack of emotional control.

The guest experts analysed this situation from different perspectives and presented strategies for dealing with the potential consequences.

Adela Berrozpe, lecturer at the UIC Barcelona Faculty of Psychology, was the first expert to speak. Berrozpe presented the ways in which gender-based violence can be tackled from within the family and conjugal sphere, or in other words, the private sphere, during the pandemic. Likewise, according to the lecturer, “it is essential we understand gender-based violence, regardless of whether or not we are at risk, given that the more we all commit ourselves to the cause, the more effective we will be in detecting cases, helping ourselves or others who are affected”. Berrozpe insisted that a change of perspective in interpersonal relationships was necessary and emphasised how important it is to feel supported by your partner. Her essential piece of advice however, is to ask for help and keep in mind that specialist services exist for this type of situation. She added that the work and initiative of Support - University Psychology and Psychiatry Clinic deserves a special mention.

The seminar’s second speaker was Valeria Cruz Ortiz, lecturer at the Universitat Jaume I, who spoke about combining work and family life in a pandemic. Cruz presented useful methods and strategies to help reduce work-related stress under intensive remote working conditions, such as encouraging individual autonomy and effective and balanced time management. According to Cruz, "working from home provides an opportunity for employees to work at their own pace and outline methods to carry out tasks without organisational limitations or restrictions imposed by colleagues”.

The third speaker was Enrique Armengou Orús, a clinical psychiatrist and psychotherapist who pointed out that the stress experienced during the pandemic had affected women and children’s mental health more than it had affected that of the rest of the general population. His presentation entitled “Emotional consequences of the COVID crisis” focused on methods for learning healthy emotional self-control.

Lastly, Paloma Alonso-Stuyck, lecturer at the UIC Barcelona Faculty of Psychology, addressed the current trend of creating synergies between educational bodies to help solve family issues, within the context of prevention. The Parenting for Lifelong Health programme, for example, helps support healthy personal relationships by educating parents in relationship skills, forgiveness and compassion.

Watch the video here.