Can Sanctuary Policies Reduce Domestic Violence?

Catalina Amuedo-Dorantes & Monica Deza
Date of Publication: 
December, 2019
Source Organization: 

Sanctuary policies that limit local police cooperation with federal immigration authorities may lead to increased reporting and accountability for domestic abuse. Can Sanctuary Cities Reduce Domestic Violence? from the IZA Institute of Labor Economics notes that one in three Hispanic women in the U.S. has experienced some form of domestic violence, but less than 50 percent of survivors report the abuse to police. Researchers found that fear over their own immigration status or that of a community member was a key obstacle to contacting law enforcement. The authors found a 62 percent reduction in homicide rates from domestic violence for Hispanic women occurring after the implementation of sanctuary policies. However, no such reduction was apparent for white non-Hispanic women, a finding that serves as a check against other confounding factors. The authors suggest that sanctuary policies create greater trust in local police, and offer more financial and social autonomy to Hispanic women who may be immigrants or members of mixed-status households. “In sum,” the authors write, “sanctuary policies appear effective in offering Hispanic women a true sanctuary against domestic violence.” (Clare Maxwell for The Immigrant Learning Center’s Public Education Institute)

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Amuedo-Dorantes, C., & Deza, M. (2019, December). Can sanctuary policies reduce domestic violence? (Discussion Paper Series No.12868). Retrieved from Instutite of Labor Economics website: