Violence against adolescent girls in India during the covid-19 pandemic: a mixed-method investigation
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TUM School of Social Sciences and Technology, Technical University of Munich, Germany
Hochschule für Politik, Technical University of Munich, Germany
World Bank, Washington, United States
Publication date: 2023-04-27
Popul. Med. 2023;5(Supplement):A1030
Background: While the “shadow pandemic” of violence against women during the COVID-19 pandemic is well documented, little is known about its impact on adolescent girls. This mixed-methodsstudy documents effects of the pandemic on multiple forms of violence against girls in India. Methods: 13-18-year-old girls in rural and urban communities and slum pockets in Maharashtra were surveyed between February and April 2022. Quantitative data were collected on health-related and socioeconomic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, domestic violence at home, and intimate partner violence (IPV) (for married/partnered girls), using audio- and computer-assisted self-interview techniques. We estimated a multivariable logistic regression to assess how the pandemic affected the risk of violence. Qualitative data were collected via eight focus group Discussions and nine in-depth interviews and transcripts were coded using thematic analysis. Findings: 3049 adolescent girls were recruited into the study, of which 277 (9.1%) were married underage. In the previous 12 months, 2003 (65.7%) girls reported at least one form of family violence and 405 (71.7%) partnered girls reported incidents of IPV. Domestic violence risk increased significantly in households who suffered greater economic harms (OR 1.19, 95% CI 1.13 to 1.26) and negative health consequences (OR=1.76, 95% CI 1.54 to 2.02) due to the pandemic. Similarly, greater detrimental health and economic impacts were associated with higher IPV risk. Interpretation: The COVID-19 pandemic has substantially increased girls’ vulnerability to violence. Concerted and youth-focused policy efforts to extend support services for adolescent violence survivors, are urgently needed.