The COVID-19 Pandemic and Domestic Violence
This module examines the impact of the COVID–19 pandemic on the risk of experiencing domestic violence.
Lecture: Welcome Video
This module examines the impact of the COVID–19 pandemic on the risk of experiencing domestic violence. The first session introduces the topic and explains the various channels through which the pandemic can give rise to a greater incidence of domestic violence. This includes the additional spent time with potential perpetrators, the worsening labor market conditions, and the deterioration in mental health of individuals. The second session provides a more research–focused attention to the same question, focusing more on the United States. It examines the impact of stay–at–home orders issued by states at different points in time on the risk of experiencing domestic violence. We consider police calls for domestic violence and Google searches for domestic violence hotline. We also provide a detailed account of the project through interviews with my co–authors and research assistants.
- Reading: Alisha Haridasani Gupta and Aviva Stahl, “For Abused Women, a Pandemic Lockdown Holds Dangers of Its Own,” The New York Times
- Reading: Caroline Bradbury–Jones, “The Pandemic Paradox: The Consequences of COVID–19 on Domestic Violence,” Journal of Clinical Nursing
- Video: The Economic Impacts of COVID-19: Real-time Evidence from Private Sector Data
- Video: “What It’s Like Working Domestic Abuse Hotline During Pandemic”
- Video: “Protecting Children From Violence In A Pandemic”
- Questions to Consider:
- Why might stay–at–home orders give rise to a greater risk of experiencing domestic violence?
- How would deterioration in mental health of individuals contribute to increases in domestic violence?
- What were the labor market impacts of the pandemic, and why do they matter for domestic violence?
- How do domestic violence hotlines respond during the Covid–19 crisis?
- Why are children in danger of abuse during the pandemic?
- Reading: Amber Peterman, Megan O’Donnell, and Tia Palermo, “COVID–19 and Violence against Women and Children: What Have We Learned So Far?,” The Center for Global Development Note
- Reading: Saravana Ravindran and Manisha Shah, “Unintended Consequences of Lockdowns: COVID–19 and the Shadow Pandemic,” National Bureau of Economic Research Working Paper
- Interview: Pinar Keskin, Associate Professor of Economics, Wellesley College
- Interview: Covid and Domestic Violence Research Assistants
- Video: “When “Stay at Home” Isn’t Safe: Domestic Violence during COVID–19”
- Video: “Presentation of Preliminary Findings”
- Questions to Consider:
- Why is domestic violence in the U.S. a pressing social, economic, and health problem?
- What are the trends in domestic violence calls to the police in 2020 compared to 2019? Where do we observe a significant break from the previous year, and why?
- How does the decline in mobility of individuals driven partly by shelter–in–place orders affect the domestic violence calls and Google searches for domestic violence?
- Why might Hispanics and foreign–born individuals experience a higher risk of domestic violence during the pandemic?
- How is it possible to get involved in research projects at Northeastern?
- What would you learn from working as a research assistant with a professor at Northeastern?
The goal in this assignment is to use Google trends data to examine the time trends in searches related to domestic violence in different regions across the United States. More specifically, go to Google trends website at https://trends.google.com/trends/?geo=US and search for “domestic violence hotline”. Victims of domestic violence may search for this phrase to reach the contact information of the National Domestic Violence Hotline.
In the top panel, you will see the time trend for searches of “domestic violence hotline” for the U.S as a whole. Download this data by clicking on the csv file link on the top of this figure, and save it.
In the bottom panel, you will see the geographic variation across states in the U.S. Select three states from this panel, and click on each of them separately. Then click on the cvs link on top of each figure shown for each state, and download the data.
Using the data you downloaded, make a figure that plots the U.S. average together with the averages for the three states you downloaded. Then search for the dates of first shelter–in–place order for each state, and put these dates as vertical lines on your graph. Explain in writing what you see in these time trends. Do shelter–in–place orders appear to be related to these searches for “domestic violence hotline”? How do the searches for each state compare to the U.S. average? Prepare an essay of 2 pages long.
For a more advanced exercise, write an R code that downloads all of the data for each designated market area in the United States. Merge this with the dates of shelter–in–place orders, and run a difference–in–difference specification to estimate the relationship between these orders and searches for “domestic violence hotline”.
- Alon, Titan M., Matthias Doepke, Jane Olmstead-Rumsey, and Michèle Tertilt. “The Impact of COVID-19 on Gender Equality,” National Bureau of Economic Research Working Paper No. 26947, April 2020.
- Aguero, Jorge M., “COVID-19 and The Rise of Intimate Partner Violence,” 2020. Unpublished Manuscript.
- Aizer, Anna, “The Gender Wage Gap and Domestic Violence,” American Economic Review, 2010, 100 (4),1847–59.
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- Anderberg, Dan, Helmut Rainer, Jonathan Wadsworth, and Tanya Wilson, “Unemployment and domestic violence: Theory and evidence,” The Economic Journal, 2016, 126(597):1947-1979.
- Baron, E. Jason, Ezra G. Goldstein, and Cullen T. Wallace. “Suffering in silence: How covid-19 school closures inhibit the reporting of child maltreatment,” Working Paper, 2020.
- Bindler, Anna and Nadine Ketel. “Scaring or scarring? Labour market effects of crime victimization,”Working Paper, 2019.
- Boserup, Brad, Mark McKenney, and Adel Elkbuli, “Alarming Trends in US Domestic Violence During the COVID-19 Pandemic,” The American Journal of Emergency Medicine, 2020.
- Bradbury-Jones, Caroline. “The pandemic paradox: The consequences of COVID-19 on domestic violence,” Journal of Clinical Nursing, 2020, 29: 2047–2049.
- David Card and Gordon Dahl. “Family violence and football: The effect of unexpected emotional cues on violent behavior,” Quarterly Journal of Economics, 2011, 126:1-41.
- Centers for Disease Control, “Costs of Intimate Partner Violence Against Women in the United States,” Department of Health and Human Services. Atlanta, GA: Centers for Disease Control, 2003.
- Devries, Karen M, Joelle YT Mak, Claudia Garcia-Moreno, Max Petzold, James C Child, Gail Falder, Stephen Lim, Loraine J Bacchus, Rebecca E Engell, Lisa Rosenfeld et al., “The Global Prevalence of Intimate Partner Violence Against Women,” Science, 2013, 340 (6140), 1527–1528.
- Eswaran, Mukesh and Nisha Malhotra, “Domestic Violence and Women’s Autonomy in Developing Countries: Theory and Evidence,” Canadian Journal of Economics, 2011, 44 (4), 1222–1263.
- Garcia-Moreno, Claudia, Cathy Zimmerman, Alison Morris-Gehring, Lori Heise, Avni Amin, Naeemah Abrahams, Oswaldo Montoya, Padma Bhate-Deosthali, Nduku Kilonzo, and Charlotte Watts, “Addressing Violence Against Women: A Call to Action,” Lancet, 2015, 385, 1685–1695.
- Haridasani Gupta, Alisha and Aviva Stahl. “For Abused Women, a Pandemic Lockdown Holds Dangers of Its Own,” The New York Times, March 24, 2020.
- Leslie, Emily and Riley Wilson, “Sheltering in Place and Domestic Violence: Evidence from Calls for Service During COVID-19,” Working Paper 3600646, Social Science Research Network 2020.
- Mahmud, Mahreen and Emma Riley, “Household Response to an Extreme Shock: Evidence on the Immediate Impact of the Covid-19 Lockdown on Economic Outcomes and Well-being in Rural Uganda,” 2020. Unpublished Manuscript.
- Peterman, Amber, Megan O’Donnell, and Tia Palermo. “COVID-19 and Violence against Women and Children: What Have We Learned So Far?” The Center for Global Development Note, June 2020.
- Ravindran, Saravana and Manisha Shah. “Unintended Consequences of Lockdowns: COVID-19 and the Shadow Pandemic.” National Bureau of Economic Research Working Paper No. 27562, July 2020.
- Ribero, Rocio and Fabio Sanchez, “Determinants, Effects and Costs of Domestic Violence,” Bogota, Colombia: Universidad de Los Andes, 2005.
- Sabia, Joseph J., Angela K. Dills, and Jeffrey DeSimone, “Sexual Violence Against Women and Labor Market Outcomes,” American Economic Review, May 2013, 103 (3), 274–78.
- Silverio-Murillo, Adan and Jose Roberto Balmori de la Miyar, “Families under Confinement: COVID-19, Domestic Violence, and Alcohol Consumption,” 2020. Unpublished Manuscript.
Associate Professor of Economics and International Affairs
Bilge Erten is an Associate Professor of Economics and International Affairs and a Faculty Scholar at the Institute for Health Equity and Social Justice Research at Northeastern University. She is a Visiting Associate Professor at the Institute for E…