2020/13: Covid-19 and help-seeking behavior for intimate partner violence victims
Using detailed data at the local level on the number of calls to the domestic violence emergency hotline in Spain, we study the effect of the COVID-19 outbreak and the quarantine measures imposed on the help-seeking behavior of intimate partner violence victims. Our analysis focuses on Spain, which is one of the European countries that was most affected by the COVID-19 pandemic and, as a consequence, implemented one of the strictest quarantine policies in Europe. We find that the implementation of the lockdown policy was associated with a 41 percentage point increase in the number of calls to the emergency hotline compared to the pre-policy period. This effect was stronger during the strict confinement period but persisted in the medium term, after quarantine was lifted. Using detailed mobile phone data to measure mobility levels, we document stronger effects in provinces whose effective mobility reduction was more intense. Our results are crucial from a policy perspective, as many countries are faced with a second wave of the pandemic.