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Domestic Violence and the Functioning of the Judicial System: An Analysis of the Effects of the Creation of the Specialized Violence against Women Courts

Economics and Law

Senior Researcher : Marta Martínez Matute

Research Centre or Institution : Universidad Autónoma de Madrid.

Abstract

Domestic violence is a serious problem in current societies, one of the main causes of homicide among women, and the most extreme expression of gender inequality. Although domestic violence has recently gathered the attention from policy makers and researchers, we know very little about what interventions are effective for reducing violence against women. Among other measures aiming to tackle this phenomenon in Spain, the Specialized Violence against Women Courts were created in 2005 in compliance with the Organic Law 1/2004, on Measures of Integral Protection against Gender Violence, approved in December 2004.

This proposal aims to contribute to the scarce literature on what works to fight domestic violence by analyzing the effect of the creation of the Specialized Violence against Women Courts, investigating whether the creation of these specific courts could affect the reporting rate and the incidence of gender-based violence. The empirical strategy relies on a difference-in-difference strategy that exploits the staggered creation of these courts across Spain from 2005.

This work aims to be the first in the literature to provide rigorous evidence on the impact that the functioning of the judicial system has on the incidence of domestic violence, generating evidence of interest not only for the design of public policies in Spain but worldwide. The preliminary results show that the opening of a specialized IPV court increase the reporting of IPV in the judicial district and improves the celerity in which these cases are created. We also plan to shed light on whether their creation help or not to prevent homicides or aggravated cases. This evidence will help to inform the design and implementation of public policies that seek to improve the legal framework that domestic violence received in Spain as well as the treatment and safety of its victims.

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