Hidden Violence: How COVID-19 School Closures Reduced the Reporting of Child Maltreatment

Authors

  • Francisco Cabrera-Hernández University of Monterrey and Higher School of Economics
  • María Padilla-Romo The University of Tennessee

Keywords:

Child maltreatment, Domestic Violence, COVID-19, School closures

Abstract

This study examines how school closures during the COVID-19 pandemic affected the reporting of child maltreatment in Mexico City. We use a rich panel dataset on incident-level crime reports and victim characteristics and exploit the differential effects between school-age children and older individuals. While financial and mental distress due to the COVID-19 pandemic may result in additional cases of child maltreatment, synthetic control and difference-in-differences estimations document an average reduction in child maltreatment reports of 29% and 30%, respectively, with larger reductions among females and in higher-poverty municipalities. These results highlight the important role education professionals in school settings play in the early detection and reporting of domestic violence against school-age children.

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Published

2021-01-07

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Articles