Hit where it hurts
News | 25 October 2019 Hit where it hurts

Professor Judit Vall presented her working paper, co-authored with Caoimhe Rice,
“Hit where it hurts – healthcare access and intimate partner violence”, where the authors
analyze the causal link between withdrawal of healthcare and changes in help-seeking
behavior of women subject to intimate partner violence. For that end, Professor Vall exploits a
change in the public healthcare entitlement of undocumented migrants in Spain and employs a
difference-in-differences strategy to compare the number of foreign applicants for protection
orders before and after reform, taking Spanish applicants as a counterfactual.
The conclusions of the paper are sound and strong: after the reform was implemented, foreign
applicants decreased by 16%, relative to Spanish. At a time in which migration is one of the
most relevant issues in Europe, it is of utmost importance that policy makers, healthcare
professionals and the population in general keep in mind the policy implications of Professor
Judit Vall’s research: restricted access to the healthcare system can have unintended negative
consequences for the most vulnerable groups of the population, with potential important spill-
over effects for the next generation.

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