Families under Confinement: COVID-19 and Domestic Violence

Posted: 10 Sep 2020 Last revised: 22 Jul 2021

See all articles by Adan Silverio-Murillo

Adan Silverio-Murillo

School of Government, Tecnologico de Monterrey

Jose Roberto Balmori de la Miyar

University Anahuac Mexico, Business and Economics School

Lauren Hoehn-Velasco

Georgia State University - Andrew Young School of Policy Studies

Date Written: September 7, 2020

Abstract

This study considers whether domestic violence increased during the COVID-19 pandemic in Mexico City. We use two separate data sources to study this question--domestic violence call-center calls and official police reports. Using both an event-study design and difference-in-differences, we show that while domestic violence during the pandemic continued (and even increased), police reports of domestic violence declined. During the pandemic, call-center calls for psychological violence increased by 17% and physical domestic violence by 7%. Despite this increase, police reports of domestic violence decreased by 22%. By December of 2020, both types of domestic violence reports had returned to baseline levels. To reconcile the discrepancies between hotline calls and reported domestic violence incidents, we consider several potential mechanisms. We find suggestive evidence that the increase in psychological domestic violence is related to stress-inducing income loss. We also show evidence indicating that women faced difficulties reporting their abusive partners to the police during the lockdown, explaining the reduction in domestic violence police reports. Our findings suggest that the COVID-19 lockdown prevented reporting of domestic violence even while violence continued or even increased.

Keywords: Domestic Violence, COVID-19, Latin America, Mexico

JEL Classification: J12, J16, J18

Suggested Citation

Silverio-Murillo, Adan and Balmori de la Miyar, Jose Roberto and Hoehn-Velasco, Lauren, Families under Confinement: COVID-19 and Domestic Violence (September 7, 2020). Andrew Young School of Policy Studies Research Paper Series, Forthcoming, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3688384 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3688384

Adan Silverio-Murillo

School of Government, Tecnologico de Monterrey ( email )

Calle del Puente 222
Mexico City, 04210
Mexico

Jose Roberto Balmori de la Miyar

University Anahuac Mexico, Business and Economics School ( email )

Av de las Torres 131
Olivar de los Padres
Mexico City, Mexico City 01780
Mexico

Lauren Hoehn-Velasco (Contact Author)

Georgia State University - Andrew Young School of Policy Studies ( email )

Department of Economics
35 Broad Street, 6th Floor
Atlanta, GA 30303-3083
United States

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