Effects of Covid-19 Shutdowns on Domestic Violence in Us Cities

44 Pages Posted: 1 Nov 2021 Last revised: 29 Nov 2021

See all articles by Amalia R. Miller

Amalia R. Miller

University of Virginia - Department of Economics; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Carmit Segal

University of Zurich - Department of Economics

Melissa Spencer

University of Richmond - Department of Economics

Date Written: October 2021

Abstract

We empirically investigate the impact of COVID-19 shutdowns on domestic violence using incident-level data on both domestic-related calls for service and crime reports of domestic violence assaults from the 18 major US police departments for which both types of records are available. Although we confirm prior reports of an increase in domestic calls for service at the start of the pandemic, we find that the increase preceded mandatory shutdowns, and there was an incremental decline following the government imposition of restrictions. We find no evidence that domestic violence crimes increased. Rather, domestic violence assaults declined significantly during the initial shutdown period and there was no significant change in intimate partner homicides in these months. Nationwide intimate partner violence rates in the National Crime Victimization Survey, including crimes not reported to police, were also lower during shutdown months. Our results fail to support claims that shutdowns increased domestic violence and suggest caution before drawing inference or basing policy on calls data alone.

Suggested Citation

Miller, Amalia R. and Segal, Carmit and Spencer, Melissa, Effects of Covid-19 Shutdowns on Domestic Violence in Us Cities (October 2021). NBER Working Paper No. w29429, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3953955

Amalia R. Miller (Contact Author)

University of Virginia - Department of Economics ( email )

P.O. Box 400182
Charlottesville, VA 22904-4182
United States

HOME PAGE: http://people.virginia.edu/~am5by/

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

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Cambridge, MA 02138
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Carmit Segal

University of Zurich - Department of Economics ( email )

Winterthurerstrasse 30
Z├╝rich, CH-8006
Switzerland

HOME PAGE: http://sites.google.com/site/carmitsegal/

Melissa Spencer

University of Richmond - Department of Economics ( email )

28 Westhampton Way
Richmond, VA 23173
United States

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