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22 May 2015

The Lancet - Cross-national and multilevel correlates of partner violence: an analysis of data from population-based surveys

Little is known about the factors that drive the geographical distribution of partner violence or how macro-level factors might combine with individual-level factors to affect individual women's risk of intimate partner violence. We aimed to assess the role that women's status and other gender-related factors might have in defining levels of partner violence among settings.

We compiled data for the 12 month prevalence of partner violence from 66 surveys (88 survey years) from 44 countries, representing 481 205 women between Jan 1, 2000, and Apr 17, 2013. Only surveys with comparable questions and state-of-the-art methods to ensure safety and encourage violence disclosure were used.

Gender-related factors at the national and subnational level help to predict the population prevalence of physical and sexual partner violence within the past 12 months. Especially predictive of the geographical distribution of partner violence are norms related to male authority over female behaviour (0·102, p<0·0001), norms justifying wife beating (0·263, p<0·0001), and the extent to which law and practice disadvantage women compared with men in access to land, property, and other productive resources (0·271, p<0·0001).

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