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Inequalities in intimate partner violence screening and receiving information among diverse groups of women: an online survey during COVID-19 lockdowns


Background Research shows violence against women likely increases during emergencies. COVID-19’s emergence exacerbated intimate partner violence (IPV), suggesting that healthcare services (HCS) should have increased IPV screening efforts and referrals of victims to support services. However, little is known about the prevalence of IPV screening and information provision during COVID-19 lockdowns.

Methods We examined prevalence of ‘ever been screened’ (ES) for IPV and ‘receiving information about support services’ (RI) in HCS during COVID-19 lockdowns and compared these among non-immigrant Jewish women, immigrant Jewish and other women, and Palestinian women citizens in Israel. We collected data during Israel’s second and third COVID-19 lockdowns (October 2020–February 2021) using a structured, online, self-administrated Arabic-language and Hebrew-language questionnaire. Eligibility criteria included women ≥18 years old, citizens of Israel, in a current intimate relationship (permanent or occasional) who used social media or smartphones. In total, 519 women completed the survey: 73 Palestinian, 127 Jewish immigrants and others, and 319 non-immigrant Jewish.

Results Overall, 37.2% of women reported any IPV, of whom just 26.9% reported ES, 39.4% reported RI and 13.5% reported both (ES&RI). Palestinian women reported higher IPV rates (49.3%) compared with non-immigrant Jewish (34.2%) and immigrant Jewish and other (37.8%) women; however, they reported lower ES (OR 0.64, 90% CI (0.34 to 1.86) and RI 0.29 (0.17 to 0.50).

Conclusions In a survey during COVID-19 lockdowns, only about one-quarter of women who reported IPV were ES for IPV, or RI about support services, suggesting strengthened IPV screening is needed in HCS during emergencies, particularly targeting minority women, who report higher IPV but receive fewer services.

  • screening
  • COVID-19
  • violence

Data availability statement

All data relevant to the study are included in the article or uploaded as online supplemental information.

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