Online Invited Seminar Talk

Harnessing the Potential of Big Data for Understanding the Impact of COVID-19 on Intimate Partner Violence in Italy

Laboratory of Digital and Computational Demography
Online Invited Seminar Talk, January 12, 2021

Valentina Rotondi from the University of Applied Sciences and Arts of Italian Switzerland presented her research using big data.


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 percent 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 and Twitter 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 in Italy? Is their predictive power weaker or stronger in the aftermath of crises such as COVID-19? Our results suggest that digital data using selected keywords proxying for IPV positively predict actual calls to helplines, with a stronger predictive power in post-crises periods. More info: valentinarotondi.eu


Valentina Rotondi is a researcher at the University of Applied Sciences and Arts of Italian Switzerland, associate researcher at the Leverhulme Centre for Demographic Science and Nuffield College (University of Oxford). She holds a Ph.D. in Economics from the Catholic University of Milan (2012-2016). She defines herself as a social scientist with training in applied economics and econometrics and a focus of research on development, and the interactions between population, development, and technological change. In her research she uses both, econometric techniques and experimental methodology to tackle the important issues of our world with an interdisciplinary spirit.

The Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research (MPIDR) in Rostock is one of the leading demographic research centers in the world. It's part of the Max Planck Society, the internationally renowned German research society.