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Violence and abuse of internally displaced women survivors of the 2010 Haiti earthquake



Limited research following disasters suggests that internally displaced women are disproportionately vulnerable to violence and abuse. An interdisciplinary collaborative of researchers and practitioners in Haiti, the US Virgin Islands, and the US Mainland investigated gender-based violence (GBV) pre- and post-earthquake and health outcomes among Haitian women living in tent cities/camps following the 2010 earthquake.


A comparative descriptive correlational design using culturally sensitive and language appropriate computer-assisted interviews of 208 internally displaced women 2011–2013.


Found high rates of violence and abuse both before (71.2 %) and after (75 %) p = 0.266, the earthquake primarily perpetrated by boy friends or husbands. Significantly more mental and physical health problems were reported by abused than non-abused women. The majority (60–78 %) of abused women did not report personal or community tolerance for violence and abuse, but acknowledged a community context of limited involvement.


Coordinated planning and implementation of needed interventions are essential to provide a balanced approach to the care of displaced women after natural disasters with sensitivity to the abusive experiences of many women both before and after the disasters.

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The authors acknowledge the contributions of collaborating members of the Advisory Committee and research team from the University of the Virgin Islands; Desiree Bertrand, MSN, Lorna W. Sutton, MPA, Kimberly Dawson, MA, Tyra De Castro, and Tessa Liburd; from mainland universities in the USA, Johns Hopkins University, Nancy Glass, Ph.D., RN, FAAN and Phyllis W. Sharps, Ph.D., RN. FAAN; and NLN/Chamberlain College of Nursing, Betty P. Dennis, Ph.D., RN, FAAN. We are especially grateful to our Advisory Committee and collaborating Haitian team members without whom this project could not have been possible: Fanelise Jean, M.D., Ph.D., Lucnie Gustave Demero, M.D., Jenny Nozier, M.D., Vijonet Demero, M.Ed., Rose Ketcia Rene, Cherline Fong, Valerie, Louis Georges, Kofaviv (Commission of Women Victims for Victims), Jocie Philistin, Program Coordinator, and Research Assistants Funding information.:National Institute of Minority Health Disparities (NIMHD/NIH Grant # P20MD002286, USA.)

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Correspondence to Doris W. Campbell.

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This study involved human participants. All procedures performed in this study were in compliance with the institutional and national committees and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.

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Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants in this study.


National Institute on Minority Health Disparities (NIMHD/NIH Grant # P20MD002286, USA.)

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This article is part of the special issue “Violence and Health: Implications of the 2030 Agenda for South-North Collaboration”.

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Campbell, D.W., Campbell, J.C., Yarandi, H.N. et al. Violence and abuse of internally displaced women survivors of the 2010 Haiti earthquake. Int J Public Health 61, 981–992 (2016).

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  • Gender-based violence
  • Intimate partner violence and abuse
  • Women’s health
  • Natural disasters and violence
  • Internally displaced disaster survivors
  • Culturally sensitive research