COVID-19 and The Rise of Intimate Partner Violence

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May 2020
Paper author(s): 
Jorge M. Agüero
Conflict, Crime and Violence
Education - Health

Stay-at-home policies have been implemented worldwide to reduce the spread of the SARS-CoV-2 virus. However, there is a growing concern that such policies could increase violence against women. We find evidence in support of this critical concern. We focus on Peru, a country that imposed a strong lockdown starting on mid-March and where nearly two-thirds of women already experienced violence before COVID-19. Using administrative data on phone calls to the national helpline for domestic violence (Línea 100) and a difference-indifference approach, we find that the incidence rate of the calls during the lockdown is nine percent larger than in previous periods and that the rise in phone calls has accelerated as the lockdown continues. We also uncover an important heterogenous pattern. We construct a stay-at-home index using Google’s mobility measures and show that the increase is driven by states where the lockdown has been more pronounced, which more than doubles the incidence rate of calls to the Línea 100. These findings reinforce the need to identify policy options to combat the SARS-CoV-2 virus without affecting women’s safety.


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