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What about the economic perspectives on domestic violence? Insights from the webinar

The COVID-19 pandemic and the resulting lockdown restrictions have amplified the academic and policy interest in the causes and consequences of domestic violence. With this in mind, the FREE Network invited academic researchers to participate in an online workshop “Economic perspectives on domestic violence“. Read the full summary from the workshop and learn more!

This policy brief is the first in a series of two briefs summarizing the papers presented at the workshop. The current brief addresses the presentations that had a more general focus on domestic violence. The second brief (read part 2 here) will discuss the papers devoted to the domestic violence implications of the pandemic.

Domestic violence (DV), as well as one of its main forms – intimate partner violence (IPV) – are societal issues of massive proportion. The World Health Organization estimates that 1 in 3 women across 80 countries worldwide are victims of IPV during their lifetime (WHO, 2013). IPV imposes huge costs on society: its victims, for instance, are estimated to be twice as susceptible to depression and alcohol abuse, and 16% more likely to give birth to a low birth-weight child (WHO, 2013).

IPV separates itself from other types of violent offenses in several aspects. To start with, the intimate victim-perpetrator relationship causes IPV to be vastly underreported. The victim may have feelings of shame, guilt, and self-blame, which could deter her from seeking support.  Further, IPV and more generally DV cases also have high rates of attrition within the justice system. These distinct characteristics highlight the level of difficulty in developing policies aimed at helping victims of intimate partner abuse. The fact that the prevalence of IPV is widespread and at the same time vastly under-reported, casts doubt on the policy measures and legislation in place today.

This policy brief is the first in a series of two that summarizes the recent economic research on IPV presented in the workshop entitled “Economic Perspectives on Domestic Violence”. The workshop was organized as a part of the Forum for Research on Gender Economics (FROGEE) supported by the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (SIDA).

Economic Determinants of Domestic Violence

A number of presentations in the workshop were devoted to the economic determinants of domestic violence. Another part of the workshop was dedicated to the role of the criminal justice system. A fact that stresses the importance of studying police behavior is that domestic abuse cases generally suffer from high legal attrition and most of them are dropped before reaching the court. Variation in the characteristics of law enforcement could likely play a role in explaining differences in DV across contexts.

Read the full policy brief here.

Disclaimer: Opinions expressed in policy briefs and other publications are those of the authors; they do not necessarily reflect those of the FREE Network, SITE and its research institutes.

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