April is Child Abuse Prevention Month, and a Good Time to Recognize the Domestic Impacts Problem Gambling Can Have
Did you know that April is Child Abuse Prevention Month? The COVID-19 pandemic has, among its long list of detrimental effects, increased the rate of domestic partner violence. Police departments from around the country noted upticks in domestic violence incidents following the start of the pandemic.  Not only that, but the health crisis also exacerbated the severity of family violence according to Jacky Mulveen, project manager of Women’s Empowerment and Recovery Educators: “It gives [the abuser] more tools, more chances to control you. The abuser says, ‘You can’t go out; you’re not going anywhere,’ and the government also is saying, ‘You have to stay in.’” 
There are also serious consequences for children who are exposed to domestic violence. For the child, this can lead to poor physical health, substance use, anxiety, depression, and post-traumatic stress symptoms.  Children are impressionable, and these impacts can linger into adulthood.
Though not commonly thought of together, disordered gambling has real and severe impacts on those closest to the gambler, up to and including domestic violence. Loved ones of those who have fallen victim to gambling addiction often report a range of effects from the deprivation of basic needs, to physical, emotional, and psychological abuse – in other words, domestic abuse. Of the loved ones contacting the 888- ADMIT-IT HelpLine over the past year, 96% reported Family Conflict, 42% reported Family Neglect, and 8% reported Family Violence. 
When problem gambling becomes an issue in a family, it can also become a financial issue between parents that affects their children on a larger scale. Children can feel at fault, hurting them emotionally, leading them to feel isolated, depressed, and angry, leading to further family conflict. When a parent is a compulsive gambler, children are more likely to be exposed to gambling at a young age, putting them at a higher risk for developing gambling addiction as well.
The good news is that help and hope are available for anyone suffering from gambling problems, and treatment is available. The FCCG’s Confidential and Multilingual Problem Gambling HelpLine can be reached 24/7 by phone at 888-ADMIT-IT, by text at 321-978-0555, by live chat at gamblinghelp.org, by emailing email@example.com, and by reaching out to the FCCG on social media.
 Boserup, Brad, et al. “Alarming Trends in US Domestic Violence during the COVID-19 Pandemic.” The American Journal of Emergency Medicine, 1 Dec. 2020, www.ajemjournal.com/article/S0735-6757(20)30307-7/fulltext.
 Kluger, Jeffrey. “Domestic Violence Is a Pandemic Within the COVID-19 Pandemic.” Time, 3 Feb. 2021, time.com/5928539/domestic-violence-covid-19/.
 “Domestic Violence and Child Abuse.” Center for Violence Prevention, Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, 11 Feb. 2021, violence.chop.edu/types-violence/domestic-violence-and-child-abuse.
 Compiled from FY 2019-2020 Florida Council on Compulsive Gambling 888-ADMIT-IT HelpLine data (2021). The Florida Council on Compulsive Gambling.