Intimate partner violence: Results from a national gender-based violence study in Malawi

The collection of quantitative information on violence against women has for many years been a contentious issue. The data has often been based on reports and files from institutions of the criminal justice system, medical facilities and counselling and support groups. As such, the data has been inadequate, as it has been reliant solely on the reports of those who publicly acknowledge victimisation and/or those who, through the severity of their injuries, are forced to seek medical, welfare or legal assistance. The DFID MaSSAJ programme, recognizing this inadequacy, undertook through the Crime and Justice Statistical Division of the National Statistics Office in Malawi, a national household violence against women survey. This book presents the main findings of the study.

In total, 3,546 households were sampled, and within these 3,546 females and 2,246 males were interviewed. The innovative methodology allowed not only for an assessment of men’s perceptions about intimate partner violence, but also minimized the chance of any retribution or violence resulting from the women’s participation in the study.

Focusing on intimate partner abuse only, the study explored sexual, emotional, and physical violence, as well as financial abuse. Rather than using broad definitions that might be subject to various interpretations, specific acts of violence or abuse were provided, and respondents were asked whether they viewed such behaviour as acceptable, and whether their intimate partners had ever perpetrated such acts against them. When positive responses were recorded, the nature of such experiences was explored.  



E Pelser, L Gondwe, C Mayamba, T Mhango, W Phiri and P Burton Crime & Justice Statistical Division, National Statistical Office

This research and publication was funded by the United Kingdom’s Department for International Development (DFID) in Malawi, through the Malawi Safety, Security and Access to Justice (MaSSAJ) programme and DFID Education

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