COVID-19 and Femicides in Brazil (English)
1 December 2023
Many studies have assessed the impact of Coronavirus (COVID-19) and social isolation policies on various forms of domestic violence, but very few have sought to study the effects on femicides. In 2017, according to the World Health Organization (WHO), Brazil had the fifth-highest rank in femicide rates among the 83 nations for which statistics were available. Evidence from monitoring of measures adopted by different countries, including Brazil, suggests trends of policies and interventions for addressing VAW during COVID-19. This note, based on Diaz et al. (2022), provides a case study of the consequences of social distancing measures implemented to deal with the COVID-19 pandemic in the State of SÃ£o Paulo, Brazil, on femicides, the most extreme form of violence against women (VAW). The analysis distinguishes between the consequences of social distancing measures and the potential effects of other pandemic-related factors on the incidence of femicides, in particular the increase in unemployment and consequent loss of household income. It also explores the possible relationship between femicide incidence and the implementation of emergency cash transfers by the federal government to relieve household financial stress during the pandemic. Based on existing evidence on responses by countries, including Brazil, to impacts of COVID-19 on VAW, this note further suggests some preliminary lessons and policy recommendations for preventing and mitigating impacts of social distancing measures on VAW.