International Journal of Public Health

, Volume 63, Issue 8, pp 945–955 | Cite as

The impact of intimate partner violence on the health and work of gender and sexual minorities in Canada

  • C. Nadine WathenEmail author
  • Jennifer C. D. MacGregor
  • Masako Tanaka
  • Barbara J. MacQuarrie
Original Article



Intimate partner violence (IPV) has significant impacts on workers and workplaces. This paper examines the experiences of gender and sexual minority (GSM) people in this context.


People aged 15 and older completed an online survey on the impacts of IPV at work, and brief health and life quality questions. Of 7918 respondents, 8.5% (n = 672) indicated GSM status. We examined IPV exposure, health and IPV-related work impacts by overall GSM status, and separately by sexual orientation, and gender.


GSM respondents were significantly more likely to report IPV and that the IPV continued at or near their workplace, impeded their ability to get to work, negatively impacted their work performance, and their co-workers; they also reported poorer mental health and life quality. While women were significantly more likely to report IPV and various negative work and health outcomes, being a sexual minority had additional independent negative effects. No differences in willingness to disclose IPV were found.


Workplace responses to IPV should account for the additional impacts and barriers faced by GSM people in disclosing abuse and seeking help.


Intimate partner violence Gender Sexual orientation Work Health 



This research has been a collaborative effort between the Centre for Research and Education on Violence Against Women and Children (CNW, BM, JM), Western University’s Faculty of Information and Media Studies (CNW, JM) and the Canadian Labour Congress. Support was provided by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research-funded Preventing Violence Across the Lifespan (PreVAiL) Research Network (CNW, JM, MT; Grant ID: RDG99326) and the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (Grant ID: 89020130102). We would like to acknowledge the contributions that the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE), the Canadian Union of Postal Workers (CUPW) and the CLC made to translation of the survey, translation of responses, and study recruitment, respectively.


This study was funded by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research-funded Preventing Violence Across the Lifespan (PreVAiL) Research Network (CNW, JM, MT; Grant ID: RDG99326) and the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (Grant ID: 89020130102).

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflicts of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Human and animal rights

All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards. The project was approved by Western University’s Non-Medical Research Ethics Board (#104156).


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Copyright information

© Swiss School of Public Health (SSPH+) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Faculty of Information and Media StudiesWestern UniversityLondonCanada
  2. 2.PreVAiL Research NetworkLondonCanada
  3. 3.Centre for Research and Education on Violence Against Women and ChildrenLondonCanada
  4. 4.Offord Centre for Child Studies, McMaster UniversityHamiltonCanada

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