Age and Intimate Partner Violence: An analysis of global trends among women experiencing victimization in 30 developing countries
Young women are at elevated risk of violence victimization, yet generalizable evidence on age at which abuse first occurs is lacking. This analysis provides new descriptive evidence on age and duration into partnership of women's first intimate partner violence (IPV) victimization.
Data come from ever married women ages of 15–49 years in nationally representative Demographic and Health Surveys in 30 countries collected from 2005 to 2014 in Africa, Asia, Eastern Europe, and Latin America and the Caribbean. Descriptive analysis is performed.
Approximately 29.0% (95% confidence interval [CI]: 28.8, 29.3) of women reported any physical or sexual IPV. Among ever married women who first experienced violence post-union, abuse began, on average, 3.5 years (95% CI 3.4, 3.5), after union formation. Approximately 38.5% (95% CI 37.9, 39.0) and 67.5% (95% CI 67.0, 68.1) of those ever experiencing abuse did so within 1 year and 3 years, respectively, of union formation. Regionally, average years into union of abuse initiation showed little variation and average age at first abuse among once married women is 22.1 years.
Results imply that primary prevention for IPV must take place on average before first union before age 19 years, to capture the most relevant and at risk target population. Resources allocated toward risk factors in childhood and adolescence may be most effective in combating initiation of IPV globally. Despite this finding, there remains a lack of evidence on effective interventions for primary prevention of abuse during women's early years in developing settings.