Women Raised in Poor Neighborhoods at Greater Risk of Intimate Partner Violence: Study
Sun, April 18, 2021

Women Raised in Poor Neighborhoods at Greater Risk of Intimate Partner Violence: Study

Women who spend longer periods of their early lives in poor neighborhoods are at greater risk of intimate partner violence in their early adulthoods / Photo by: pierivb via 123RF

 

Women who spend longer periods of their early lives in poor neighborhoods are at greater risk of intimate partner violence in their early adulthoods. This is according to a new study led by the University of Oxford and in collaboration with the University of Bristol.

Intimate Partner Violence and Neighborhood Deprivation

The researchers used the longitudinal study of parents and children called "Children of the 90s." The study involved children born in England and was hosted at the University of Bristol. The current researchers focused on participants who shared their experiences of intimate partner violence (IPV) between 18 to 21 years old. They then determined their level of deprivation in their neighborhoods during the first 18 years of their lives, based on the Indices of Multiple Deprivation, the official measure of deprived areas in English local councils.

Results show that women who grew up in the most deprived neighborhoods were 36% more likely to be at risk of intimate partner violence when they reach 18 to 21 years old. These women also experienced IPV more frequently compared to women who were not raised or spent less time in poor neighborhoods.

The multi-country study on women’s health and domestic violence against women of WHO, which comprises 24,000 women in 10 countries, shows that intimate partner violence is widespread in different countries / Photo by: Katarzyna Białasiewicz via 123RF

 

Forms of Intimate Partner Violence

According to the World Health Organization and public agency Pan American Health Organization, intimate partner violence is one of the most common forms of violence against women. It refers to any behavior within an intimate relationship that causes sexual, physical, and psychological harm to those in the relationship. The different forms of intimate partner violence are: 

1) Acts of physical violence, including beating, kicking, hitting, and slapping.

2) Sexual violence, such as sexual coercion and forced sexual intercourse

3) Psychological or emotional abuse, such as belittling, insults, intimidation, constant humiliation, threats to take away children, and threats of harm. An example of intimation is destroying things.

4) Controlling behaviors, such as monitoring their movements; restricting access to employment, financial resources, and medical care and education; and isolating the person from friends and family.

In some countries, IPV is referred to as domestic violence, although it also encompasses elder or child abuse or abuse by any member of the household.

How Common Is IPV?

The multi-country study on women’s health and domestic violence against women of WHO, which comprises 24,000 women in 10 countries, shows that intimate partner violence is widespread in different countries. Among the women in the study, 13 to 61% reported having experienced physical violence by their partner, 4 to 9% reported having experienced severe physical violence by their partner, 6 to 59% reported sexual violence by their partner at some point in their relationship, and 20 to 75% reported experiencing an emotionally abusive act or more from their partner.

Medical research platform Medical Xpress also shares that in the UK alone, approximately 7% (1.1 million) of women experienced intimate partner violence in 2018 alone. Medical Xpress based their statement on data provided by the Crime Survey for Wales and England.

Before the recent UK study, most studies that assessed the link between neighborhood deprivation and IPV had been from the US. Lead author Dr. Alexa Yakubovich from the Unity Health Toronto and the University of Oxford said that there is a need to better understand what causes the violence to introduce more effective strategies for prevention. She believes that IPV is a major public health concern not only in the UK but in other countries as well.

Senior author Dr. David Humphreys shared that their work is the first-ever study in the UK, to their knowledge, that demonstrates how long-term exposure to poor neighborhoods is an important factor that increases the risk of victimization in women by their intimate partners. The researchers believe that further research is needed to better understand how communities can be helped to support the young women victims at risk for IPV while they are at home. The group also concluded that economic deprivation and inequality at the neighborhood level increases the woman’s risk of being exposed to abuse.

WHO said that most abused women are not really passive or helpless victims. They usually stay in violent relationships out of fear of retaliation, concern for their children, lack of alternative means of economic support, fear or stigma of losing custody of kids associated with divorce, love and hope that the partner will change, and lack of support from friends and family.

Individual Factors Why Man Commits Violence Against His Partner

On the other hand, there are individual factors why a man commits violence against his partner. These include a low level of education, young age, personality disorders, experiencing or witnessing violence as a child, harmful use of alcohol and drugs, past history of abusing partners, and acceptance of violence or feeling that it is acceptable that a man beat his partner. As to the relationship factors, these include economic stress, men having multiple partners, dissatisfaction or conflict in the relationship, male dominance in the family, and disparity in educational attainment.

WHO added that women abused by their partners suffer a higher level of phobias, anxiety, and depression than non-abused women. They also suffer emotional distress and physical damage, such as welts, abrasions, and bruises.

WHO added that women abused by their partners suffer a higher level of phobias, anxiety, and depression than non-abused women / Photo by: belchonock via 123RF