Intimate partner violence: Asking the right questions?

VISION Interim Director Gene Feder collaborated with Valeria Skafida from the University of Edinburgh and Christine Barter from the University of Central Lancashire to undertake a critical analysis of UK longitudinal and repeated cross-sectional population surveys which asked about experiences of intimate partner violence and abuse (IPVA).

Seven relevant UK representative population-based surveys which asked about IPVA among adults and/or young people (16–17 years old) were identified. They critically engaged with the questionnaires to analyse the strengths and limitations of existing UK data on IPVA.

Several limitations in UK surveys were identified. Many questions still showed a bias, partly historical, towards collecting more data about physical abuse. Few surveys asked about financial abuse, abuse post-separation or through child contact, or through technologies, though improvements were under way.

Surveys still sought to count incidents of abuse, instead of enquiring about the impact of abusive behaviours on victims. Ethnicity and other demographic variables were not always adequately captured (or accessible to data users), making it difficult to explore aspects of inequality. Potentially useful comparisons within the UK were difficult to undertake given the increasingly divergent questionnaires used in different UK nations.

They discussed how future iterations of existing surveys or new surveys can improve with regards to how questions about IPVA are asked. Given that surveys across geographical contexts often suffer similar weaknesses, their findings are relevant for IPVA survey methodology beyond the UK context.

For further information please see: Asking the Right Questions? A Critical Overview of Longitudinal Survey Data on Intimate Partner Violence and Abuse Among Adults and Young People in the UK | SpringerLink