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Canadian Journal of Public Health

, Volume 94, Issue 1, pp 52–58 | Cite as

Intimate Partner Violence and Health

A Critique of Canadian Prevalence Studies
  • Jocalyn P. ClarkEmail author
  • Janice Du Mont
Article
  • 1 Downloads

Abstract

Objective: The Canadian Public Health Association, along with other professional organizations, has identified intimate partner violence (IPV) as a priority health issue to which the health professions must respond. This study synthesizes Canadian studies on the prevalence of IPV against women, focusing in particular on the stated implications for women’s health and health care.

Methods: Medical and social science databases were searched for all articles pertaining to IPV in Canada for 1974 through September 2000. Reference lists of these and other related publications were consulted to supplement the literature review. Data on study characteristics, methods, and results were extracted by two independent reviewers. Discrepancies were resolved by consensus.

Results: Sixteen studies were identified in this review, 11 population-based and 5 conducted in clinical settings. Age, ethnicity, and socioeconomic status were not consistently documented, making comparisons and evaluations of generalizability difficult. Annual prevalence of IPV in Canada was found to range from 0.4% to 23%, with severe violence occurring from 2% to 10% annually. Less than two fifths (37.5%) of the studies incorporated a health-related measure.

Interpretation: This review reveals a paucity of Canadian prevalence data on IPV, marked by design and methodological issues. Poor quality data may pose a challenge to articulating and establishing a coordinated health care response to eliminating IPV in Canada.

Résumé

Objectif: L’Association canadienne de santé publique, comme d’autres organisations professionnelles, considère la violence entre partenaires intimes (VPI) comme une question prioritaire pour les professionnels de la santé. On fait ici une synthèse des études canadiennes sur la prévalence de la VPI à l’endroit des femmes, surtout dans l’optique de ses conséquences énoncées sur la santé des femmes et sur les soins de santé qu’elles reçoivent.

Méthode: On a répertorié dans les bases de données médicales et de sciences sociales canadiennes tous les articles sur la VPI au Canada de 1974 à septembre 2000. Pour compléter l’enquête bibliographique, on a consulté les listes de référence de ces articles et de publications connexes. Deux examinateurs indépendants ont extrait des données sur les caractéristiques, les méthodes et les résultats des études et se sont concertés là où leurs constatations différaient.

Résultats: L’examen a permis de trouver 16 études, dont 11 études représentatives et cinq réalisées dans des conditions cliniques. L’âge, l’appartenance ethnique et le statut socio-économique n’y étaient pas documentés systématiquement, ce qui a compliqué le travail de comparaison et d’évaluation de la généralisabilité. Selon les constatations, la prévalence annuelle de la VPI au Canada varie entre 0,4 % et 23 %, et celle de la violence grave, entre 2 % et 10 %. Moins des deux cinquièmes des études (37,5 %) intégraient une mesure de la santé.

Interprétation: Cet examen témoigne de la rareté des données canadiennes sur la prévalence de la VPI et des vices de conception et de méthode des études existantes. La piètre qualité des données pourrait être un obstacle pour les responsables de la santé qui veulent articuler et établir une stratégie coordonnée d’élimination de la VPI au Canada.

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Copyright information

© The Canadian Public Health Association 2003

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Public Health Sciences and the Institute for Women’s Studies and Gender StudiesUniversity of TorontoTorontoCanada
  2. 2.The Centre for Research in Women’s HealthSunnybrook & Women’s College Health Sciences CentreTorontoCanada

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