Hidden Violence: How COVID-19 School Closures Reduced the Reporting of Child Maltreatment

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Paper author(s): 
Francisco Cabrera-Hernández
María Padilla-Romo
Conflict, Crime and Violence
Education - Health

This study examines how school closures during the COVID-19 pandemic affected the reporting of child maltreatment in Mexico City. We use a rich panel dataset on incident-level crime reports and victim characteristics and exploit the differential effects between school-age children and older individuals. While financial and mental distress due to the COVID-19 pandemic may result in additional cases of child maltreatment, synthetic control and difference-in-differences estimations document an average reduction in child maltreatment reports of 29% and 30%, respectively, with larger reductions among females and in higher-poverty municipalities. These results highlight the important role education professionals in school settings play in the early detection and reporting of domestic violence against school-age children.


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