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Beliefs about intimate partner violence: A survey of the Swedish general public

Journal article
Authors Helen Alfredsson
Karl Ask
Chris von Borgstede
Published in Scandinavian Journal of Psychology
Volume 57
Issue 1
Pages 57-64
ISSN 0036-5564
Publication year 2016
Published at Department of Psychology
Pages 57-64
Language en
Subject categories Psychology (excluding Applied Psychology), Applied Psychology


Public interventions are considered to be an important means of preventing intimate partner violence (IPV). What people believe about the nature of IPV is likely to determine their propensity to intervene, but little is known at present about IPV beliefs among the general public. In a survey of 650 Swedish citizens, beliefs about the prevalence and causes of IPV, and viable means of intervention were assessed. Respondents estimated, on average, that IPV occurs in almost one quarter of all intimate relationships in Sweden, and that IPV is particularly prevalent in low-income groups, among non-European immigrants, in suburban areas, and in couples under the age of 50 years. Physical violence was believed to be the most frequent form of abuse in male offender–female victim cases, whereas psychological violence was considered most frequent in other combinations of offender and victim gender. Female respondents estimated a higher prevalence of IPV, attributed less blame to IPV victims, and suggested more means of intervention, than did male respondents. The findings are discussed in relation to empirical prevalence estimates, and implications are proposed.

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