Technical Brief: Measuring Intimate Partner Violence.

Published by STRIVE

Gender-based violence – including physical, sexual, emotional and economic violence and abuse – is widespread globally. The most pervasive form of gender-based violence is intimate partner violence (IPV), also known as domestic violence or partner/spouse abuse. On average, 30% of women worldwide will experience at least one episode of sexual and/or physical IPV within her lifetime; the incidence and prevalence of violence in relationships, however, varies greatly both between countries and regions, and between neighbourhoods and villages.

In the context of HIV, partner violence has emerged as a barrier to use of services and to the uptake and consistent use of various treatment and prevention strategies. Partner violence is associated, for example, with reluctance to seek HIV testing, fear of disclosing one’s HIV status, difficulty in attending clinic visits and reduced adherence to lifesaving HIV prevention methods and treatment regimens.

This brief provides guidance for the non-expert on how to collect valid quantitative data on partner violence in an ethically and methodologically sound manner. Specifically, it addresses:

  • definitions
  • ethical and safety obligations (informed consent, privacy)
  • methods for increasing disclosure among research participants
  • minimum items necessary for measuring intimate partner violence
  • defining IPV as an outcome or exposure variable

Data available to fully articulate the relationship between violence and the uptake and use of services and prevention and treatment options are still relatively sparse. However, investigators could learn much by regularly including questions on violence in their on-going research."