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Evidence SynthesesResearch Basics

Measuring Intimate Partner Violence

This brief provides guidance for the non-expert on how to collect valid quantitative data on partner violence in an ethically and methodologically sound manner. Specifically, it addresses: 

  • Definitions 
  • Ethical and safety obligations (informed consent, privacy) 
  • Methods for increasing disclosure among research participants 
  • Minimum items necessary for measuring intimate partner violence 
  • Defining IPV as an outcome or exposure variable

Definition of Intimate Partner Violence (IPV)

IPV can be defined as a pattern of behaviour within an intimate relationship that includes physical or sexually violent acts, often accompanied by emotional aggression and controlling behaviours, enacted by a current or former intimate partner (i.e. spouse, boyfriend/girlfriend, dating partner, or ongoing sexual partner). Partner violence includes: 

  • physical aggression – such as slapping hitting, kicking beating 
  • forced intercourse or other forms of sexual coercion 
  • psychological abuse – such as intimidation, constant belittling and humiliation 
  • controlling behaviours – such as isolating a person from their family and friends, monitoring their movements and restricting their access to assistance or information.
Date published
  • 2017
  • Lori Heise
  • Mazeda Hossain
Published by STRIVE