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What puts women at risk for partner violence? Factors associated with violence by a current partner in a nationally representative sample of German women
  1. H Stoeckl*,
  2. L Heise,
  3. C Watts
  1. Correspondence Gender Violence and Health Centre, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, 36 Gordon Square London WC1H 0PD, UK


Objective Partner violence has been established as an important human rights violation and public health issue. Although its pervasiveness is well documented, more research is needed on risk and protective factors in order to inform interventions.

Methods This study is based on secondary analysis of the first national survey on violence against women in Germany. Women who reported violence by their current partner were compared to women who never reported partner violence, using crude and adjusted odds ratios and logistic regression analysis. Violence was measured using the revised Conflict Tactics Scale.

Results The prevalence of physical and/or sexual violence by current partners was 17%. Women who experienced violence during childhood, including physical punishment, child sexual abuse or witnessing marital violence had higher odds of experiencing partner violence. Partner violence was associated with women's drug use within the last 5 years, physical disability or debilitating chronic illness, having more than three children, experiencing violence by a non-partner, and being isolated and feeling socially excluded. The odds of violence also increased if both partners were unemployed or lacked vocational training or if the woman but not her partner, had vocational skills. Relationships shorter than 5 years or where the man alone or both partners drank heavily were likewise associated with higher likelihood of violence.

Conclusion Partner violence interventions should holistically address these factors by integrating primary interventions that reduce childhood risk factors and secondary interventions that tackle social isolation, employment, vocational skills and alcohol and drug use.

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