Evidence Brief: Cash Transfers and Intimate Partner Violence
Cash transfers to poor households reduce intimate partner violence (IPV) in over 70% of the 22 rigorous quantitative and qualitative studies reviewed. Within the quantitative evidence, reductions are strongest for physical and sexual IPV, while the evidence is less clear for other types of abuse, such as emotional IPV and controlling behaviours.
Even small reductions in IPV achieved through individual programmes may be meaningful, given the widespread coverage, scalability and cost-effectiveness of cash transfers.
Impacts are primarily achieved through three pathways: a) increased economic security and emotional wellbeing; b) reduced intra-household conflict; and c) increases in women’s empowerment.
Programme design and framing are potentially important to programme impact. Design issues include whether the programme provides cash directly to women, whether messaging around the transfer directly challenges gender norms, and whether the programme includes complementary activities that build social capital, knowledge, skills or self-efficacy.
More research is needed across diverse settings to determine how reductions in IPV can be sustained beyond the programme period and to understand which design features will maximise beneficial impacts.