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UNICEF Innocenti's complete catalogue of international peer reviewed journals

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Government Anti-Poverty Programming and Intimate Partner Violence in Ghana

AUTHOR(S)
Amber Peterman, Elsa Valli, Tia Palermo

Published: 2021

We examine whether a government cash transfer program, paired with a health insurance premium waiver and targeted to pregnant women and mothers of young children in Ghana, reduced intimate partner violence (IPV). The evaluation took place in two northern regions and followed a 24-month longitudinal quasi-experimental design. Findings show significant decreases in the 12-month frequency of emotional, physical and combined IPV (0.09 – 0.12 standard deviations). Analysis of pathways indicate improvements in economic security and women’s empowerment may account for reductions in IPV. Results indicate a promising role for social protection in improving the lives of pregnant women and new mothers.

Pandemics and Violence Against Women and Children

AUTHOR(S)
Amber Peterman, Alina Potts, Megan O'Donnell, Kelly Thompson, Niyati Shah, Sabine Oertelt-Prigione, Nicole van Geltert

Published: 2020
Times of economic uncertainty, civil unrest and disaster are linked to a myriad of risk factors for increased violence against women and children (VAW/C). Pandemics are no exception. In fact, the regional or global nature and associated fear and uncertainty associated with pandemics provide an enabling environment that may exacerbate or spark diverse forms of violence. Understanding mechanisms underlying these dynamics are important for crafting policy and program responses to mitigate adverse effects. Based on existing published and grey literature, we document nine main (direct and indirect) pathways linking pandemics and VAW/C, through effects of (on):(1) economic insecurity and poverty-related stress, (2) quarantines and social isolation, (3) disaster and conflict-related unrest and instability, (4) exposure to exploitative relationships due to changing demographics, (5) reduced health service availability and access to first responders, (6) inability of women to temporarily escape abusive partners, (7) virus-specific sources of violence, (8) exposure to violence and coercion in response efforts, and (9) violence perpetrated against health care workers. We also suggest additional pathways with limited or anecdotal evidence likely to effect smaller sub-groups. Based on these mechanisms, we suggest eight policy and program responses for action by governments, civil society, international and community-based organizations. Finally, as research linking pandemics directly to diverse forms of VAW/C is scarce, we lay out a research agenda comprising three main streams, to better (1) understand the magnitude of the problem, (2) elucidate mechanisms and linkages with other social and economic factors and (3) inform intervention and response options. We hope this paper can be used by researchers, practitioners, and policymakers to help inform further evidence generation and policy action while situating VAW/C within the broader need for intersectional gender- and feminist-informed pandemic response.
COVID-19: Reducing the risk of infection might increase the risk of intimate partner violence

AUTHOR(S)
N. van Gelder, Amber Peterman, Alina Potts

Published: 2020
The ongoing pandemic caused by SARS-CoV-2, the causal agent of the acute respiratory distress syndrome COVID-19, is placing unprecedented stress on healthcare systems and societies as a whole. The rapid spread of the virus in the absence of targeted therapies or a vaccine, is forcing countries to respond with strong preventative measures ranging from mitigation to containment. In extreme cases, quarantines are being imposed, limiting mobility to varying degrees.
While quarantines are an effective measure of infection control, they can lead to significant social, economic and psychological consequences. Social distancing fosters isolation; exposes personal and collective vulnerabilities while limiting accessible and familiar support options. The inability to work has immediate economic repercussions and deprives many individuals of essential livelihoods and health care benefits. Psychological consequences may range from stress, frustration and anger to severe depression and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). A recent review drawing on lessons from past pandemics shows the length of quarantine increases the risk for serious psychological consequences.

List randomization for soliciting experience of intimate partner violence: Application to the evaluation of Zambia's unconditional child grant program

AUTHOR(S)
Amber Peterman, Tia Palermo, Sudhanshu Handa, David Seidenfeld

Published: 2017

Social scientists have increasingly invested in understanding how to improve data quality and measurement of sensitive topics in household surveys. We utilize the technique of list randomization to collect measures of physical intimate partner violence in an experimental impact evaluation of the Government of Zambia's Child Grant Program. The Child Grant Program is an unconditional cash transfer, which targeted female caregivers of children under the age of 5 in rural areas to receive the equivalent of US $24 as a bimonthly stipend. The implementation results show that the list randomization methodology functioned as planned, with approximately 15% of the sample identifying 12-month prevalence of physical intimate partner violence. According to this measure, after 4 years, the program had no measurable effect on partner violence. List randomization is a promising approach to incorporate sensitive measures into multitopic evaluations; however, more research is needed to improve upon methodology for application to measurement of violence.

Women’s Individual Asset Ownership and Experience of Intimate Partner Violence: Evidence From 28 International Surveys

AUTHOR(S)
Amber Peterman, Audrey Pereira, Jennifer Bleck, Tia Palermo, Kathryn M. Yount

Published: 2017

Objectives. To assess the oft-perceived protective relationship between women’s asset ownership and experience of intimate partner violence (IPV) in the previous 12 months.

Methods. We used international survey data from women aged 15 to 49 years from 28 Demographic and Health Surveys (2010–2014) to examine the association between owning assets and experience of recent IPV, matching on household wealth by using multivariate probit models. Matching methods helped to account for the higher probability that women in wealthier households also have a higher likelihood of owning assets.

Results. Asset ownership of any type was negatively associated with IPV in 3 countries, positively associated in 5 countries, and had no significant relationship in 20 countries (P < .10). Disaggregation by asset type, sole or joint ownership, women’s age, and community level of women’s asset ownership similarly showed no conclusive patterns.

Conclusions. Results suggest that the relationship between women’s asset ownership and IPV is highly context specific. Additional methodologies and data are needed to identify causality, and to understand how asset ownership differs from other types of women’s economic empowerment.

Is Routine Screening for Intimate Partner Violence Feasible in Public Health Care Settings in Kenya?

AUTHOR(S)
C. C. Undie, Mary Catherine Maternowska, M. Mak'anyengo, I. Askew

Published: 2016
More than a third of women worldwide have experienced either physical and/or sexual intimate partner violence (IPV) or non-partner sexual violence. The short- and long-term health effects of violence can be disabling if left undetected. A recent World Health Organization (WHO) report indicates that Africa is one of the regions with the highest prevalence of physical and/or sexual IPV among ever-partnered women. Routine screening for IPV can potentially improve the care and treatment of women suffering from violence. Although routine screening is commonplace in European and American countries, health systems barriers in developing countries have deterred introduction of this practice. Results from this feasibility study indicate that providers are willing and able to incorporate IPV screening into their practice and that IPV screening in a variety of health care settings in a public hospital is feasible and welcomed by clients. Referral uptake by women suffering from IPV was low compared with provider referral rates, but ways in which referral and management services could be improved were identified.
Age and Intimate Partner Violence: An analysis of global trends among women experiencing victimization in 30 developing countries

AUTHOR(S)
Amber Peterman, J. Bleck, Tia Palermo

Published: 2015

Purpose

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.

Methods

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.

Results

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.

Conclusions

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.

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