Intimate partner violence among women with and without disabilities: a pooled analysis of baseline data from seven violence-prevention programmes.

Peer-reviewed article
(2020 Nov) BMJ Glob Health, 5


Chirwa E, Jewkes R, Van Der Heijden I, Dunkle K



Intimate partner violence (IPV) is a serious public health and human rights violation which impacts approximately one in three women worldwide. Some existing evidence suggests that women with disabilities are at higher risk of IPV, but is largely limited in geographical scope to the Global North, and comparison across settings has been hampered by inconsistent measurement of both IPV and disability.


Pooled analysis of baseline data from 8549 adult women participating in seven IPV prevention studies in five countries across Africa and Asia that used collaborative, comparative measurement strategies to assess both disability and IPV.


After adjusting for age, women with disabilities were more likely to experience past 12-month physical IPV (adjusted OR (aOR)=1.79; 95% CI 1.49 to 2.17), sexual IPV (aOR=1.98; 95% CI 1.36 to 2.89), emotional IPV (aOR=1.84; 95% CI 1.49 to 2.27) and economic IPV (aOR=1.66; 95% CI 1.45 to 1.89), with an overall association between disability and past 12-month physical/sexual IPV of aOR=1.93 (95% CI 1.52 to 2.46). Compared to women without disability, women with moderate and severe disability showed a trend of increasing risk of IPV in the past 12 months for each of physical, sexual, emotional and economic IPV. Overall, both women with moderate disability (aOR=1.86, 95% CI 1.57 to 2.21) and women with severe disability (aOR=2.63; 95% CI 1.95 to 3.55) were significantly more likely to experience any form of IPV when compared with women without disability.


Women with disabilities are at increased risk of past-year IPV compared to women without disabilities across a range of settings in the Global South, and the risk of IPV increases with increasing severity of disability. IPV prevention and response efforts in these settings must find ways to include and address the needs of women with disabilities, including increased outreach and improved accessibility of programmes.