Women, Victimization, and COVID-19
The Effect of COVID-19 on Women, Livelihood and Violence in Mwanza, Tanzania
Heidi Stöckl, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine
Gerry Mshana, National Institute for Medical Research, Tanzania
Abstract: Across the world, reports of increases in intimate partner violence due to COVID-19 related lockdowns or social restriction measures are rising, with the fear that the predicted recession and loss in economic livelihood will lead to further increases. To curb the spread of COVID-19, the Tanzanian government took several measures including closing schools and colleges, banning large gatherings, restricting travel from affected countries and recommending hand washing and social distancing throughout the country. To our knowledge, there is no published evidence on how COVID-19 and the control measures impact women’s physical, psychological and economic well-being, their relationships including intimate partner violence, and their children in low- and middle-income countries. Tanzania already has a comparatively high rate of intimate partner violence, with one in four women reporting physical and/or sexual violence in the last year (Kapiga et al. 2018), and the majority of people are employed in the informal sector. Tanzania is therefore an important setting in which to investigate and monitor the effect of COVID-19 control measures on women’s physical, psychological and economic well-being, and their relationships including their experiences of intimate partner violence to advise future policy directions and interventions. Our study aims to examine this by conducting a two-wave quantitative phone survey of 421 women and two in-depth phone interviews with 15 women currently involved in a longitudinal study on predictors and consequences of intimate partner violence in Mwanza, Tanzania.
COVID-19, Shelter-in-Place, and Domestic Violence in the United States
Rebecca Thornton, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Scott Cunningham, Baylor University
Yunie Le, Claremont Graduate University
Anuar Assamidanov, Claremont Graduate University
Gregory DeAngelo, Claremont Graduate University
Abstract: We estimate average treatment effects associated with three COVID-19 policies—shelter in place, school closures and daycare closures—on family violence, as recorded in 911 calls and police incidents data across dozens of American cities. Two-way fixed effects estimates are presented alongside Callaway and Sant’Anna’s (2020) estimator for differential timing with heterogeneous treatment effects. The estimates produce mixed evidence across type of closure, type of estimation method, and outcome. We find that shelter-in-place and day-care closures are associated with reductions in domestic violence calls, while school closures increase and day-care closures decrease child abuse up to one-month post-treatment. Important differences exist across estimation strategies in both the direction and magnitude of the estimates, calling into question previous findings. The results suggest important heterogeneity in the effects of the various mandates across time, space, and policy.
Social Distancing, Stimulus Payments, and Domestic Violence: Evidence from the U.S. during COVID-19
Bilge Erten, Northeastern University
Pinar Keskin, Wellesley College
Silvia Prina, Northeastern University
Abstract: We examine the effects of government-mandated or self-imposed social distancing in response to the COVID-19 pandemic on the reporting of domestic violence to the police in the United States. Using a large dataset of daily domestic violence calls from 31 police departments for the January–September 2020 period (compared to 2019), we find that the early spike in police calls from the beginning of social distancing disappears around mid-April, when the distribution of CARES Act stimulus payments began. We observe that domestic violence calls for areas with higher concentration of Hispanics and noncitizens remain elevated even after the stimulus payments were delivered since these groups faced greater barriers in accessing the social welfare system. These results highlight the importance of improved access to social safety net programs in combating domestic violence and reconcile earlier findings in the literature of mixed evidence of the impact of COVID-19-induced social distancing on domestic violence.
Effects of the COVID-19 Pandemic on Domestic Violence in U.S. Cities
Amalia R. Miller, University of Virginia
Carmit Segal, University of Zurich
Melissa Spencer, University of Richmond
Abstract: Around the world, policymakers and news reports have warned that domestic violence (DV) could increase as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic and the attendant restrictions on individual mobility and commercial activity. However, both anecdotal accounts and academic research have found inconsistent effects of the pandemic on DV across measures and cities. We use high-frequency, real-time data from Los Angeles on 911 calls, crime incidents, arrests, and calls to a DV hotline to study the effects of COVID-19 shutdowns on DV. We find conflicting effects within that single city and even across measures from the same source. We also find varying effects between the initial shutdown period and the one following the initial re-opening. DV calls to police and to the hotline increased during the initial shutdown, but DV crimes decreased, as did arrests for those crimes. The period following re-opening showed a continued decrease in DV crimes and arrests, as well as decreases in calls to the police and to the hotline. Our results highlight the heterogeneous effects of the pandemic across DV measures and caution against relying on a single data type or source. (See Effects of COVID-19 Shutdowns on Domestic Violence in US Cities, (NBER working paper 29429).
The Determinants and Aftermath of Victimization in U.S. Households and the Implications of COVID-19
Keith Finlay, U.S. Census Bureau, Tulane University
Michael G. Mueller-Smith, University of Michigan
Brittany Street, University of Missouri
Abstract: Domestic violence in the United States is typically studied using either surveys, which often suffer from common survey issues and a lack of geographic granularity, or more recently using administrative data, which does not include victim information. We develop a new approach to identify offenders and their victims leveraging the Criminal Justice Administrative Records System (CJARS) linked with extensive microdata within Federal Statistical Research Data Centers (FSRDCs). These data, along with longitudinal residential and family relation crosswalks built as part of the CJARS project, allow us to identify offenders and victims from survey and administrative records through dwelling-level cohabitation histories. We identify domestic violence events from Michigan court records using offense descriptions and link to the most-likely victim using established relations and cohabitation patterns. Using a series of logic rules, we identify a unique most-likely victim for 68% of observed domestic violence events and one or more equally-likely victims for 84.4% of observed events. Additionally, we compare CJARS-based victimization rates to those in the National Crime Victimization Survey (NCVS) to compare differences due to methodology. This administrative approach to measuring and understanding domestic victimization complements survey-based approaches and offers distinct advantages for future research, as it relies on naturally occurring, population-level data at granular geographic levels.
The Shadow Pandemic: COVID-19 and Violence against Adolescent Girls in LMICs
Sarah J. Baird, George Washington University, Milken Institute School of Public Health
Manisha Shah, UCLA, Luskin School of Public Affairs, and NBER
Abstract: There is a dearth of research on the impacts of health crises on adolescents’ exposure to violence. This study aims to fill this gap by looking at the impact of COVID-19 on household and community violence experienced by unmarried adolescent girls and boys in three distinct low- and middle-income countries: Bangladesh, Ethiopia, and Jordan. Amidst ongoing panel data collection with close to 10,000 adolescents, rapid virtual surveys were undertaken during the COVID-19 pandemic, both during the initial phases in May-July 2020 and again six months later in November 2020-March 2021, successfully surveying close to 80% of the sample. Along with a broad set of measures capturing the impact of COVID-19, these surveys incorporated innovative violence measurement using vignettes and proxy measures. Our preliminary findings suggest that most households are being economically impacted by the pandemic and policy response, leading to large increases of stress and anger in the households, with limited recovery across the two data rounds. Social isolation rates are also high amongst all adolescents, especially for females, with some recovery, particularly for males. Almost 50% of adolescents, both boys and girls, identify violence as a problem for young people, and approximately 30% report that it has increased since COVID-19, with males particularly concerned about violence from law enforcement. Reported increases in violence are highest for adolescents from lower socioeconomic backgrounds, for adolescents who reported violence prior to COVID-19, and for adolescents who report larger pandemic related shocks. We explore whether social protection programs are protective of increased violence and while we find limited evidence of an overall association between social protection and increased violence, access to social protection mitigates the impact of pandemic related negative food shocks across all violence outcomes.
Dynamic Impacts of Lockdown Mandates on Intimate Partner Violence: Evidence from Multiple Policy Shifts in Chile
Sonia R. Bhalotra, University of Warwick
Emilia Brito Rebolledo, Brown University
Damian Clarke, University of Chile
Pilar Larroulet, University of Maryland
Francisco Pino, University of Chile
Abstract: There has been a global surge in domestic violence (DV) during the pandemic. We identify impacts of lockdown imposition and lockdown removal on measures of incidence and reporting using Chilean administrative data. Chile provides a good laboratory for this analysis because lockdown was staggered across its 346 municipalities. We defend the identifying assumption that the timing of lockdown is quasi-random and obtain estimates of dynamic effects that are unbiased under treatment effect heterogeneity. We find an increase in incidence alongside a decrease in reports to the police. Investigating mechanisms, we find evidence consistent with both mobility restrictions and job loss being exacerbated by lockdown and contributing to the increase in DV. We observe ratchet effects, with the lifting of lockdown only partially reversing the spike in distress calls and employment. Our results accentuate the controversy over the welfare impacts of lockdown mandates.
The Impact of COVID-19 on Intimate Partner Violence in Urban Peru
Erica M. Field, Duke University
Ursula T. Aldana, Institute for Peruvian Studies
Abstract: We collect retrospective panel survey data on household socioeconomic status and domestic conflict from a large nationwide sample in Peru and find a large increase in intimate partner violence (IPV) during the COVID-19 pandemic. The incidence rate of IPV increased by an estimated 60% from April/May 2019 to April/May 2020, and the increase was sustained until July/August 2020. Leveraging two separate identification strategies, we find that households most likely to have experienced economic losses as a result of the pandemic had the largest increases in IPV over the period, with the incidence of IPV more than doubling among those most at risk of job loss. The finding holds if we examine either occupations with heavy job losses or districts with heavy job losses. In summary, we document a large and sustained increase in IPV during the COVID-19 pandemic in Peru that appears to be causally associated with pandemic related income shocks incurred at the household and district levels.