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Intimate Partner Violence in the Era of Pandemic: Evaluating the Impact of COVID-19 and a Text-based Mitigation Campaign in Urban Peru
Last registered on July 22, 2020

Pre-Trial

Trial Information
General Information
Title
Intimate Partner Violence in the Era of Pandemic: Evaluating the Impact of COVID-19 and a Text-based Mitigation Campaign in Urban Peru
RCT ID
AEARCTR-0006180
Initial registration date
July 21, 2020
Last updated
July 22, 2020 10:26 AM EDT
Location(s)
Region
Primary Investigator
Affiliation
Duke University
Other Primary Investigator(s)
PI Affiliation
World Bank
Additional Trial Information
Status
In development
Start date
2020-05-18
End date
2020-10-30
Secondary IDs
Abstract
There are several reasons health experts worldwide fear an increase in intimate partner violence (IPV) during the Covid-19 pandemic, including economic stress and higher levels of conflict due to physical proximity of family members. Declines in household income are likely to increase the emotional stress levels of potential perpetrators and thereby increase rates of expressive aggression. Moreover, while lock-down and shelter-in-place measures are prudent for slowing the spread of coronavirus, such measures put women and children at higher risk of domestic violence as they are confined with potential abusers and have limited access to support services, potentially increasing perpetrators ability and willingness to commit acts of violence.

In Peru, during the first week of the lockdown, Linea 100, a helpline dedicated to domestic violence, registered a 30 percent increase in calls. However, higher reporting of IPV episodes may be driven by changes in reporting behavior rather than incidence of violence. For instance, victims may simply feel more isolated, so have fewer opportunity to seek help from friends and family leading them to seek police or hotline help more often. Hence, the degree to which the worldwide Covid-19 pandemic has been accompanied by significant increases in rates of IPV remains an important unanswered empirical question. Moreover, it is unclear which intervention and response options may have an impact.

To tackle these issues, we are conducting a randomized experiment in which we are: (i) exploiting two rounds of phone-based surveys to a large sample of couples in urban Peru to understand the impact on IPV and intra-household conflict of restrictions instituted to contain the spread of Covid-19; (ii) characterizing couples at heightened risk of IPV as a result of these measures in order to increase understanding of risk factors for IPV and inform the government’s response to IPV by helping them target services to couples most in need; and (iii) evaluate the efficacy of an SMS intervention designed to help men manage emotional regulation while at heightened risk of committing expressive violence.
External Link(s)
Registration Citation
Citation
Field, Erica and Javier Romero. 2020. "Intimate Partner Violence in the Era of Pandemic: Evaluating the Impact of COVID-19 and a Text-based Mitigation Campaign in Urban Peru ." AEA RCT Registry. July 22. https://doi.org/10.1257/rct.6180-1.0.
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Experimental Details
Interventions
Intervention(s)
The campaign would draw on psychological interventions designed to help individuals at risk of violence due to affect regulation better manage impulse control and channel emotional outbursts in order to mitigate episodes of violence. Components of well-vetted anger management training programs that have specifically targeted individuals with a history of violence would be reduced to short text-based messages, some of which will contain links to Internet-based resources. Men in our sample – who have already been targeted as eligible for IPV programming based on age, location and relationship status – who are assigned to the treatment arm of our intervention would be sent a series of texts every 72 hours. The content will be relevant to high-stress circumstances such as the current lock-down and economic downturn impacting urban areas of Peru, and include information on coping mechanisms for stress-related emotional responses and general tips for managing interpersonal conflict that arises between domestic partners and other family members in high stress situations (e.g. identifying triggers, avoiding conflict, regulating anger, and practicing healthy communication).
Intervention Start Date
2020-07-28
Intervention End Date
2020-09-28
Primary Outcomes
Primary Outcomes (end points)
1. Response to the SMS campaign (interest, trust, intent to follow recommendations)
2. Intimate Partner Violence
3. Wellbeing
4. Health-seeking behavior
Primary Outcomes (explanation)
Secondary Outcomes
Secondary Outcomes (end points)
Secondary Outcomes (explanation)
Experimental Design
Experimental Design
The intervention we propose to evaluate will provide information to a large sample of men who have been selected for a government program that works with men, in urban areas, around tolerance of domestic violence (MFE) that is now on hold until regular nonessential government services are resumed. We will enroll a random subset of these men (cross-randomized with the MFE treatment group) into a text-based information campaign. At the end of the survey, the enumerator will offer men the option of opting into a text message-based intervention providing tips on how to manage personal stress and maximize domestic harmony during a time of reduced mobility and limited access to external resources. Among the subset of men who opt into receiving the SMS treatment, we will randomize households into a treatment group who will receive IPV-relevant messaging (described above), and a control group who will receive “placebo” texts that contain more general advice not thought to directly influence affect regulation and thereby reduce episodes of violence. Men who opt in, along with any other household members they choose to enroll in the intervention, would then be sent text messages of either type 3 times per week for 10 weeks. We then, would administer a second round of phone-based surveys in order to measure the efficacy of the SMS intervention.
Experimental Design Details
Randomization Method
Randomization will be done on a computer. Individuals will be randomized to treatment after conducting a pre-treatment phone-based survey.
Randomization Unit
Individual
Was the treatment clustered?
No
Experiment Characteristics
Sample size: planned number of clusters
None
Sample size: planned number of observations
900 men
Sample size (or number of clusters) by treatment arms
450 treatment, 450 control
Minimum detectable effect size for main outcomes (accounting for sample design and clustering)
IRB
INSTITUTIONAL REVIEW BOARDS (IRBs)
IRB Name
IRB Approval Date
IRB Approval Number
Post-Trial
Post Trial Information
Study Withdrawal
Intervention
Is the intervention completed?
No
Is data collection complete?
Data Publication
Data Publication
Is public data available?
No
Program Files
Program Files
Reports, Papers & Other Materials
Relevant Paper(s)
REPORTS & OTHER MATERIALS