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COVID-19 and the rise of intimate partner violence


  • Agüero, Jorge M.


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 strict nationwide lockdown starting in mid-March and where nearly 60% of women already experienced violence before COVID-19. Using administrative data on phone calls to the helpline for domestic violence (Línea 100), we find that the incidence rate of the calls increased by 48 percent between April and July 2020, with effects increasing over time. The rise in calls is found across all states and it is not driven by baseline characteristics, including previous prevalence of violence against women. These findings create the need to identify policies to mitigate the negative impact of stay-at-home orders on women’s safety.

Suggested Citation

  • Agüero, Jorge M., 2021. "COVID-19 and the rise of intimate partner violence," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 137(C).
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:wdevel:v:137:y:2021:i:c:s0305750x20303442
    DOI: 10.1016/j.worlddev.2020.105217

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    2. Gulesci, Selim & Puente–Beccar, Manuela & Ubfal, Diego, 2021. "Can youth empowerment programs reduce violence against girls during the COVID-19 pandemic?," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 153(C).
    3. Leona Plášilová & Martin Hůla & Lucie Krejčová & Kateřina Klapilová, 2021. "The COVID-19 Pandemic and Intimate Partner Violence against Women in the Czech Republic: Incidence and Associated Factors," IJERPH, MDPI, vol. 18(19), pages 1-14, October.
    4. Hakan Yilmazkuday, 2021. "Unequal welfare costs of staying at home across socioeconomic and demographic groups," International Journal of Urban Sciences, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 25(3), pages 347-365, July.
    5. Jennifer Langhinrichsen-Rohling & Grace E. Schroeder & Ryan A. Langhinrichsen-Rohling & Annelise Mennicke & Yu-Jay Harris & Sharon Sullivan & Glori Gray & Robert J. Cramer, 2022. "Couple Conflict and Intimate Partner Violence during the Early Lockdown of the Pandemic: The Good, the Bad, or Is It Just the Same in a North Carolina, Low-Resource Population?," IJERPH, MDPI, vol. 19(5), pages 1-15, February.
    6. Roman, Soraya & Aguiar-Palma, Marina & Machado, Cecilia, 2023. "A tale of two cities: Heterogeneous effects of COVID-19 quarantine on domestic violence in Brazil," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 331(C).
    7. Ahmed Mushfiq Mobarak & Edward Miguel, 2022. "The Economics of the COVID-19 Pandemic in Poor Countries," Annual Review of Economics, Annual Reviews, vol. 14(1), pages 253-285, August.
    8. Kyriakos C. Neanidis & Maria P. Rana, 2023. "Crime in the era of COVID‐19: Evidence from England," Journal of Regional Science, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 63(5), pages 1100-1130, November.
    9. Layla Branicki & Senia Kalfa & Alison Pullen & Stephen Brammer, 2023. "Corporate Responses to Intimate Partner Violence," Journal of Business Ethics, Springer, vol. 187(4), pages 657-677, November.
    10. Sara, Raisa, 2023. "The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on alcohol and tobacco consumption: Evidence from Peru," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 325(C).
    11. Rocha, Fabiana & Diaz, Maria Dolores Montoya & Pereda, Paula Carvalho & Árabe, Isadora Bousquat & Cavalcanti, Filipe & Lordemus, Samuel & Kreif, Noemi & Moreno-Serra, Rodrigo, 2024. "COVID-19 and violence against women: Current knowledge, gaps, and implications for public policy," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 174(C).
    12. Berniell, Inés & Facchini, Gabriel, 2021. "COVID-19 lockdown and domestic violence: Evidence from internet-search behavior in 11 countries," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 136(C).
    13. Sara, Raisa & Radoias, Vlad & Kim, Younoh, 2024. "Hypertension effects of the COVID-19 lockdowns: Evidence from a repeated cross-sectional survey in Peru," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, vol. 52(C).

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