Global, regional, and national prevalence estimates of physical or sexual, or both, intimate partner violence against women in 2018

Elsevier, The Lancet, Volume 399, 26 February 2022
Sardinha L., Maheu-Giroux M., Stockl H., Meyer S.R., Garcia-Moreno C.
Background: Intimate partner violence against women is a global public health problem with many short-term and long-term effects on the physical and mental health of women and their children. The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) call for its elimination in target 5.2. To monitor governments' progress towards SDG target 5.2, this study aimed to provide global, regional, and country baseline estimates of physical or sexual, or both, violence against women by male intimate partners. Methods: This study developed global, regional, and country estimates, based on data from the WHO Global Database on Prevalence of Violence Against Women. These data were identified through a systematic literature review searching MEDLINE, Global Health, Embase, Social Policy, and Web of Science, and comprehensive searches of national statistics and other websites. A country consultation process identified additional studies. Included studies were conducted between 2000 and 2018, representative at the national or sub-national level, included women aged 15 years or older, and used act-based measures of physical or sexual, or both, intimate partner violence. Non-population-based data, including administrative data, studies not generalisable to the whole population, studies with outcomes that only provided the combined prevalence of physical or sexual, or both, intimate partner violence with other forms of violence, and studies with insufficient data to allow extrapolation or imputation were excluded. We developed a Bayesian multilevel model to jointly estimate lifetime and past year intimate partner violence by age, year, and country. This framework adjusted for heterogeneous age groups and differences in outcome definition, and weighted surveys depending on whether they were nationally or sub-nationally representative. This study is registered with PROSPERO (number CRD42017054100). Findings: The database comprises 366 eligible studies, capturing the responses of 2 million women. Data were obtained from 161 countries and areas, covering 90% of the global population of women and girls (15 years or older). Globally, 27% (uncertainty interval [UI] 23–31%) of ever-partnered women aged 15–49 years are estimated to have experienced physical or sexual, or both, intimate partner violence in their lifetime, with 13% (10–16%) experiencing it in the past year before they were surveyed. This violence starts early, affecting adolescent girls and young women, with 24% (UI 21–28%) of women aged 15–19 years and 26% (23–30%) of women aged 19–24 years having already experienced this violence at least once since the age of 15 years. Regional variations exist, with low-income countries reporting higher lifetime and, even more pronouncedly, higher past year prevalence compared with high-income countries. Interpretation: These findings show that intimate partner violence against women was already highly prevalent across the globe before the COVID-19 pandemic. Governments are not on track to meet the SDG targets on the elimination of violence against women and girls, despite robust evidence that intimate partner violence can be prevented. There is an urgent need to invest in effective multisectoral interventions, strengthen the public health response to intimate partner violence, and ensure it is addressed in post-COVID-19 reconstruction efforts. Funding: UK Department for International Development through the UN Women–WHO Joint Programme on Strengthening Violence against Women Data, and UNDP-UN Population Fund-UNICEF-WHO-World Bank Special Programme of Research, Development, and Research Training in Human Reproduction, a cosponsored programme executed by WHO.