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

Francisco Cabrera-Hernandez, Maria Padilla-Romo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Citations (Scopus)


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.

Original languageEnglish
Article number4
JournalLatin American Economic Review
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 31 Dec 2020

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
We thank Emily Pratt and Antonio Ruiz-Porras; seminar participants at Universidad del Norte, Universidad de Guadalajara, and IZA & Jacobs Center Workshop: Consequences of COVID-19 for Child and Youth Development; and colleagues at the Center for Institutional Studies, HSE, Moscow, for helpful feedback on earlier versions of this paper.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2020, Centro de Investigacion y Docencia Economicas A.C.. All rights reserved.

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Economics, Econometrics and Finance(all)


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