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The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on violence against women in Germany

With the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic in March 2020, governments around the globe implemented strict social distancing measures and public life was reduced to a minimum. Although warranted from a virological perspective, policy makers and researchers have warned that social distancing measures, and specifically stay-at-home orders, may put women and children at increased risk of domestic violence. On May 27, 2020, the pandemic's impact on domestic violence was coined as the ``shadow pandemic'' in a press release issued by the Executive Director of UN Women.

This study is set in Germany and examines the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on intimate partner violence against women in 2020. The analysis triangulates data across different sources: (1) longitudinal administrative help request data from Germany's major domestic violence support hotlines, (2) longitudinal administrative help request data from ambulatory service providers, which offer counseling and shelter, (3) a cross-sectional online survey with frontline workers and (4) a cross-sectional and representative online survey with 3800 partnered women conducted during Germany's first lockdown in April 2020 in Germany. The combination of different data sources is crucial as survivors of intimate partner violence likely resort to the support services that are most accessible in times of lockdown, which implies that the pandemic itself may have a direct impact on survivors' help seeking behaviors.

Project start:
01. March 2020

Project end:
30. June 2023

Project management:
Dr. Cara Ebert, Janina Steinert