Impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on reporting of rape, serious sexual offences, and domestic abuse in one English police force

Article


Spence, R., Horvath, M., Dalton, C. and Davies, K. 2022. Impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on reporting of rape, serious sexual offences, and domestic abuse in one English police force. Journal of Gender-Based Violence. 6 (2), pp. 242-260. https://doi.org/10.1332/239868021X16425806897258
TypeArticle
TitleImpacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on reporting of rape, serious sexual offences, and domestic abuse in one English police force
AuthorsSpence, R., Horvath, M., Dalton, C. and Davies, K.
Abstract

Research suggests that during the COVID-19 pandemic reports of rapes and serious sexual offences to the authorities have declined while calls to domestic violence helplines have soared. This article focuses on the impacts of the COVID-19 outbreak on reporting to the police in cases of rape, serious sexual offences and domestic abuse in one police force in England. Data from the force’s crime reporting system was provided from 2018 to 2021, including over 10,000 reports of rapes and serious sexual offences and over 5,000 reports of domestic abuse. An Interrupted Time Series analysis was used to evaluate the impact of lockdown on reporting rates, with segmented regression to measure the changes in reporting before and after the start of the pandemic in March 2020. This article is the first of its kind to explore the impact of COVID-19 on sexual and domestic violence at more than an aggregate level, demonstrating how COVID-19 has had a variable impact on different groups of victims, and how stay at home orders specifically have impacted on reporting rates. These data provide novel and valuable insights into the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on the reporting of sexual violence and domestic abuse.

KeywordsCOVID-19; rape; serious sexual assault; domestic abuse; police
Research GroupCentre for Abuse and Trauma Studies (CATS)
LanguageEnglish
PublisherPolicy Press
JournalJournal of Gender-Based Violence
ISSN2398-6808
Electronic2398-6816
Publication dates
Online21 Feb 2022
Print01 Jun 2022
Publication process dates
Deposited22 Feb 2022
Accepted19 Jan 2022
Output statusPublished
Accepted author manuscript
Copyright Statement

This is a post-peer-review, pre-copy edited version of an article published in Journal of Gender-Based Violence. The definitive publisher-authenticated version Spence, R., Horvath, M. A. H., Dalton, C. T., & Davies, K. (2022). Impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on reporting of rape, serious sexual offences, and domestic abuse in one English police force. Journal of Gender-Based Violence. is available online at: https://doi.org/10.1332/239868021X16425806897258

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)https://doi.org/10.1332/239868021X16425806897258
Web of Science identifierWOS:000915702100002
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