Date of this Version
Despite the volume of studies leveraging big data to explore socio-demographic phenomena, we still know little about the intersection of digital information and the social problem of intimate partner violence (IPV). This is an important knowledge gap, as IPV remains a pressing public-health concern worldwide, with 35% of women having experienced it over their lifetime and cases rising dramatically in the wake of global crises such as the current COVID-19 pandemic. This study addresses the question of whether online data from Google Trends might help to reach “hard-to-reach” populations such as victims of IPV using Italy as a case-study. We ask the following questions: Can digital traces help predict instances of IPV — both potential threat and actual violent cases — in Italy? Is their predictive power weaker or stronger in the aftermath of crises such as COVID-19? Our results combined suggest that online Google searches using selected keywords measuring different aspects of IPV are a powerful tool to track potential threats of IPV before and after global-level crises such as the current COVID-19 pandemic — with stronger predictive power post-crisis — while online searches help to predict actual violence only in post-crises scenarios.
digital data, Google Trends, intimate partner violence, Italy, COVID-19
Köksal, Selin, Luca Maria Pesando, Valentina Rotondi, and Ebru Şanlıtürk. 2021. "Harnessing the Potential of Online Searches for Understanding the Impact of COVID-19 on Intimate Partner Violence in Italy." University of Pennsylvania Population Center Working Paper (PSC/PARC), 2021-61. https://repository.upenn.edu/psc_publications/61.
Criminology Commons, Demography, Population, and Ecology Commons, Domestic and Intimate Partner Violence Commons, Family, Life Course, and Society Commons, Gender and Sexuality Commons, Social Control, Law, Crime, and Deviance Commons
Date Posted: 12 January 2021