, Volume 20, Issue 3, pp 337-343,
Open Access This content is freely available online to anyone, anywhere at any time.
Date: 25 May 2012

Possibilities and Hindrances for Prevention of Intimate Partner Violence: Perceptions Among Professionals and Decision Makers in a Swedish Medium-Sized Town



Intimate partner violence (IPV) is a major public health problem, but few evidence-based prevention programs have yet been implemented.


This study explored the perceptions and beliefs of local-level decision makers, social and health-care professionals, and representatives from the police force regarding the possibilities and hindrances for prevention of IPV.


An explorative qualitative approach was used, and participants were strategically selected for focus group discussions. The participants, 19 men and 23 women, were professionals or decision makers within health-care services, social welfare, municipal administration, the police force, local industry, and local politicians in a Swedish town of 54,000 inhabitants. The focus group discussions were audio recorded, transcribed verbatim, and thematically analyzed. A manifest content analysis was performed on the text.


Preschools, schools, sports associations, workplaces, and the mass media were suggested as possible arenas for prevention measures. The proposed activities included norm building and improved social support structures. Hindrances were conceptualized as societal beliefs and attitudes, shame, silence, gender inequality, the counteracting influence of the media, and lack of resources. The participants demonstrated closeness and distance to IPV, expressed as acceptance or referral of responsibility to others regarding where and by whom prevention measures should be executed.


This study gave new insights in the prevailing perceptions of professionals and decision makers of a medium-sized Swedish town, which can be a useful knowledge in future preventive work and contribute to bridge the gap between research and practice.