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A new tool for identifying risk of repeated intimate partner violence adjusted for the population of Montenegro: a cohort study

Abstract

Current estimates suggest that approximately 20% of women and 11% of men have been victims of intimate partner violence. Risk identification tools for repeated domestic violence currently exist and have typically been designed by police and judicial authorities, based on the criminal history of the perpetrator. A follow-up cohort study of 238 cases of intimate partner violence (judicially processed and officially judged as DV according to Montenegrin Criminal Act) was conducted by reviewing randomly selected court files. The results showed that certain perpetrator characteristics (unemployment, lack of regret, other violent criminal history, and history of being beaten by a family member) and victim characteristics (nonqualified education and predictions of future harm) were associated with reassault. Relationship characteristics such as different ethnicity, poor socioeconomic status, difference in incomes, living in a rental property, alcohol and drug use, and unprocessed previous history of physical violence were also associated with repeated violence. A risk identification tool for repeated intimate violence was computed based on the significant variables, with a sensitivity of 85% and a specificity of 89%. This study demonstrates a new tool for repeated intimate partner violence prediction in patriarchal societies, widespread in Eastern Europe and the Middle East. The majority of factors associated with reassault in this sample have been shown to be predictive for repeated intimate partner violence in previous studies. The applicability of our tool in egalitarian societies should be investigated in order to see whether the combination of these factors is universal or specific to patriarchal societies.

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Acknowledgments

Dr. Radojevic is currently a fellow at Takemi Program in International Health at Harvard School of Public Health, Boston, USA. The research has been conducted under the supervision and review of Prof. Subramanian. Findings presented in the paper have been discussed during Takemi seminars with the critical insight of Takemi peers, leaders, and board members.This project was conducted with the support of the Takemi Program in International Health at Harvard T. H. Chan School of Public Health.

Dr. Radojevic was also a fellow of Fogarty International Center of the National Institutes of Health’s “Research Ethics Education in the Balkans and Black Sea Countries” (Award Number R25TW008171), provided by Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, New York, USA, and School of Medicine University of Belgrade, Serbia. As so, ethical principles conducted during the research were influenced by the education acquired. The content is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of the National Institutes of Health.

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Correspondence to B. Vukcevic.

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Radojevic, N., Vukcevic, B., Begic, S. et al. A new tool for identifying risk of repeated intimate partner violence adjusted for the population of Montenegro: a cohort study. Int J Legal Med (2020). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00414-019-02244-5

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Keywords

  • Batterer
  • Domestic violence
  • Intimate partner violence
  • Recidivism