To contain the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic, countries across the world have adopted lockdown and physical distancing policies. These measures may have inadvertent consequences for some segments of the population. In this project, we study the implications of the shutdown and social distancing policies across German states (“Bundesländer”) for violence against women and children. We will conduct a representative online survey with 4000 households across Germany to quantify the prevalence of violence against women and children and examine whether being quarantined at home along with poor mental health, economic insecurity, changes in partners’ earnings and employment status, and increased childcare responsibilities exacerbate the risk of domestic violence. We will use variation in state laws on social distancing and home quarantine behaviour to assess the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on violence against women and children. We will triangulate our survey data with administrative data from telephone helplines and counselling services for survivors of domestic abuse as well as from police records. Findings from this study can help inform policy programmes to alleviate these risks and to more effectively protect women and children in times of crisis.
Access a lay summary of preliminary descriptive project results here.