While restrictions on movement and physical distancing rules were in place to fight the coronavirus pandemic, there were growing concerns that women and children could be exposed to domestic violence. However, because not all victims contact the police or support services, the actual dimensions of the problem remained unknown.
Janina Steinert, Professor of Global Health at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) and Dr. Cara Ebert of the RWI – Leibniz Institute for Economic Research, therefore conducted an online survey on the experiences of around 3,800 women between the ages of 18 and 65. The study is representative for Germany in terms of age, education, income, household size and place of residence. The women were asked about the preceding month between April 22 and May 8 2020, i.e. the period in which the strictest social distancing rules were in effect. To address the possibility that some of the respondents might be too embarrassed to give truthful answers, the researchers used a recognized method of indirect questioning for highly stigmatized forms of violence, e.g. sexual violence.