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Women’s police stations and domestic violence : evidence from Brazil (英语)

Although women’s police centers have been gaining popularity as a measure to address domestic violence, to date no quantitative evaluations of their impacts on the incidence of domestic violence or any other manifestations of gender equality have been done. This paper estimates the effects of women’s police stations in Brazil on female homicides, as a measure of the most severe form of domestic violence. Given that a high fraction of female deaths among women ages 15 to 49 years can be attributed to aggression by an intimate partner, female homicides appear the best available proxy for severe domestic violence considering the scarcity of data on domestic violence. The paper uses a panel of 2,074 municipalities and takes advantage of the gradual rollout of women’s police stations from 2004 to 2009, to estimate the effect of establishing a women’s police station on the municipal female homicide rate. Although the analysis does not find an association on average, women’s police stations appear to be highly effective among some groups of women: women living in metropolitan areas and younger women. Establishing a women’s police station in a metropolitan municipality is associated with a reduction in the homicide rate by 1.23 deaths per 100,000 women (which roughly amounts to a 17 percent reduction in the average homicide rate in metropolitan municipalities). The reduction in the homicide rate of women ages 15 to 24 is even higher: 5.57 deaths per 100,000 women. Qualitative work suggests that better economic opportunities and less traditional social norms in metropolitan areas may explain the heterogeneous impacts of women’s police stations in metropolitan areas and outside them.

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