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Open Access Article.
Daniel La Parra-Casado. This article belongs to the Section Women's Health.
Aims: To analyze the temporal and geographical distribution of different indicators for the evolution of intimate partner violence against women IPV before, during and after the COVID induced lockdown between March and June in Spain. Methods: Descriptive ecological study based on s of calls, policy reports, women killed, and protection orders PO issued due to IPV across Spain as a whole and by province — We calculated quarterly rates for each indicator.
A cluster analysis was performed using call rates and protection orders by province in the second quarters of and : During the second quarter ofthe highest call rate was recorded Policy report rates In the third quarter, calls decreased, and policy reports and POs increased. Differences between the volume of contacts made via call and the policy reports generated provide evidence for the existence of barriers to IPV-service access during the lockdown and the period of remote working.
More efforts are needed to reorganize services to cope with IPV in non-presential situations. The provinces with the highest call and PO rates were also those with the highest rates of unemployment, a worrying result given the current socioeconomic crisis. Introduction Intimate partner violence against women IPV is a complex public health issue encountered across the globe with ificant variation in prevalences both between and within countries [ 1 ].
studies have already shown that this variation could be explained by the contextual characteristics of where women live, such as unemployment rates and the levels of gender inequality [ 456 ]. Pre-pandemic social inequalities—related to poorer-quality housing, unemployment or precarious employment, and restrictions on access to and use of technological resources may be promoting a new social divide.
This divide could reproduce and even increase inequalities by gender, socioeconomic status, age, and ethnicity—among other social factors influencing the health and social well-being of the population [ 7 ]. IPV constitutes the ultimate expression of gender inequality and also seems to have been aggravated by the current health and social crisis worldwide [ 8910 ].
In Spain, the Government Office Against Gender-based Violence noted an increase in the of telephone calls and WhatsApp messages to the service, which provides consultations and answers requests for information and assistance [ 11 ].
Aware of this situation, public institutions have implemented special measures, as other countries have, which include officially declaring services providing IPV assistance as essential. Other measures implemented included transforming tourist accommodation into emergency shelters for women, but this varied according to the specific autonomous community [ 12 ].
The differences in the responses produced, along with the already-known variations in case distributions at a national level [ 913 ], could have influenced the impact of the SARS-CoV-2 lockdown on IPV incidence.
Despite the growing proliferation of publications about both the impact of the COVID crisis and the control measures adopted to manage its impact on IPV, studies using empirical qualitative or quantitative data are still scarce [ 14 ]. Studies on the impact of the COVID crisis using indicators such as type helpline calls, IPV complaints, and protection measures are still scarce [ 202122 ].
The objective of this study was to analyze the temporal and geographical distribution of different indicators associated with IPV. Specifically, we analyzed the evolution of female fatalities, of formal searches or requests for help on the part of the women affected calls, formal complaintsand of the measures implemented protection orders before, during, and after the COVID-induced lockdown in Spain from March to June We deed a descriptive ecological study based on the s of calls, policy reports, women killed, and protection orders issued in relation to IPV across Spain as a whole and by province—including the autonomous cities of Ceuta and Melilla—from January to September Among other measures, they include assistance for and social protection of the victim.
Intimate partner violence against women during the covid lockdown in spain
In this study, we considered the s of POs granted, which, inwere Information about the of calls and the of women killed was obtained from the statistics portal of the Government Office against Gender-based Violence [ 24 ].
To calculate the rates, we used the annual population data for women 15 and over from the ongoing municipal census provided by the Spanish Statistical Office [ 25 ]; overall unemployment rates, for both men and women by province, for the second quarter ofwere obtained from the Spanish Labor Force survey [ 26 ]; and finally, IPV prevalence was assessed using microdata from the large-scale Violence against Women Survey [ 7 ].
For the first three of these indicators, we calculated quarterly rates per 10, women aged 15 and over. For the indicator of women IPV fatalities, we calculated the quarterly rates per 1, women aged 15 or over. Next, we estimated the inter-annual variation of each indicator—at both national and provincial levels—with the aim of being able to compare each quarterly figure with that of the year.
The time periods considered to calculate the rates were from the first quarter Q1 of up to the third quarter Q3 of ; the second quarter Q2 of was that affected by the COVID induced lockdown 14 March to 21 June K-Means clustering attempts to identify relatively homogeneous groups of units or entities based on selected characteristics. We carried out a cluster analysis using the K-Means method with the objective of evaluating if the percentage growth in call rates and POs granted between Q2 and Q2 would allow us to identify groups of provinces with distinct behaviors.
Female IPV fatalities were removed from this analysis because disaggregating this indicator by province and quarter resulted in a constant with a value of 0.
Official complaints were also discarded because they did not include sufficient discriminatory capacity to differentiate clusters. After exploring the data, the cluster analysis was performed without including the autonomous city of Melilla, as it was an atypical case due to the high s of calls made and POs granted during the study period. We evaluated a range of cluster, between 2 and 10, using the different fit criteria available in the R package NbClust [ 27 ].
After obtaining a fork of between 3 and 5 possible optimum solutions, we decided on the final by comparing the reduction in intra-group variability, and, additionally, the increment in the variance explained when adding each new cluster to the solution [ 28 ]. Based on the direction and magnitude of the change in rates, the cluster analysis classified the provinces among four groups that showed both greater internal consistency and greater difference from the other groups.
The provincial unemployment rates in Q2 and IPV prevalence in the last 12 months were considered as dependent variables. The concerning the relationship with IPV prevalence may potentially have been influenced by the macro-survey not being fully representative at a provincial level. In the second quarter of25, calls were registered, a total of 34, official complaints were made, POs granted, and there were 4 women IPV fatalities.
In this same period, the highest rate of calls was recorded In the third quarter ofthere was a rate of The rates of official complaints With regard to the percentage of variation between call rates, the growth was almost zero from Q2 of to Q2 of 0.
Table 2 shows the inter-annual development of the rates in Q2 as compared toby province. The calls indicator grew overall, although the high of The next highest value was The PO indicator showed a similar trend to that of official complaints, although different provinces that showed positive growth values were identified, up to the extreme value of In addition, increases in POs were found for the autonomous city of Ceuta Figure 2 shows that the provinces that appear in Cluster 1 registered a decline in both the rate of calls and POs granted in Q2 Cluster 4 included the provinces with moderate In Huelva, it was also notable that the of POs granted increased, but not the of calls.
Looking at Figure 2it is important to note that the four IPV fatalities during this period occurred in provinces that were located in Clusters 3 and 4, where calls and PO rates were the highest. Specifically, the highest average unemployment rate was observed in Cluster 4, the same for which a simultaneous increase in POs and calls was observed.