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How do women in Spain deal with an abusive relationship?
  1. Isabel Ruiz-Pérez,
  2. Juncal Plazaola-Castaño,
  3. María del Río-Lozano,
  4. and the Gender Violence Study Group
  1. Andalusian School of Public Health, Granada, Spain
  1. Correspondence to:
 Dr I Ruiz Pérez
 Escuela Andaluza de Salud Pública, Campus Universitario de Cartuja, Cuesta del Observatorio 4, Apdo 2070, 18080 Granada, Spain; isabel.ruiz.easp{at}


Objectives: To determine the different responses adopted by women in Spain who are victims of intimate partner violence (IPV); identify the different sociodemographic profiles associated with each response; analyse the factors contributing to adopting a response; and study the association between the different types of response and the different types of IPV.

Design: Cross sectional study.

Setting: 23 volunteer general practices in Spain.

Participants: 1402 randomly selected women.

Main outcome measure: Women’s response to IPV: none, partner separation, reporting the case to the police, seeking help from healthcare professionals and seeking help from associations for battered women.

Results: Lifetime prevalence of any type of IPV (physical, psychological, and/or sexual) was 32%. Sixty three per cent of abused women took some kind of action to overcome IPV. Women who separated from their partners were mostly younger, with a smaller number of children and higher income and educational levels, compared with those abused women who reported the abuse to the police or sought help from healthcare professionals or associations for battered women. Independent factors associated with presenting a response to IPV were: being separated/divorced/widowed, having social support, having experienced IPV frequently, and having experienced physical and psychological abuse (compared with psychological abuse alone). Women who experienced the three types of abuse were also more likely to respond to violence.

Conclusions: Identifying the factors that have an influence on the response adopted by abused women allows us to better understand the support needed by them to abandon an abusive relationship.

  • domestic violence
  • spouse abuse
  • women
  • attitude

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  • * The terms “action” and “response” will be used indistinctively throughout the paper.

  • Funding: this study was supported by a research grant from the Spanish Network for Research on Health and Gender (Carlos III Health Institute) (G03/042) and by a research grant from the Andalusian Health Service (5/04).

  • Competing interests: none.

  • Ethics approval: no ethical approval was needed for this cross sectional study.

  • Gender violence study group: María Luisa Sevillano Santamaría (San Lorenzo del Escorial Primary Care Centre (PCC), Madrid), Manuel de la Cueva Ortega (El Escorial PCC, Madrid), Pilar Blanco Prieto (El Escorial PCC, Madrid), Rosa Bajo (Loeches PCC, Madrid), María Luisa de Santiago Hernando (Castilla La Nueva PCC, Madrid), Ana Herranz Torrubiano (Castilla La Nueva PCC, Madrid), Carlos Díaz Gómez-Calcerrada (Castilla La Nueva PCC, Madrid), María José García Sacristán (Castilla La Nueva PCC, Madrid), Sonia Grandes Velasco (Castilla La Nueva PCC, Madrid), María Ángeles Maroto García (Castilla La Nueva PCC, Madrid), Marisa Palomo Linares (Cerro del Aire PCC, Madrid), Ana Bonaplata Revilla (Cáceres PCC, Madrid), Josefa Castillo González (Casa de Campo PCC, Madrid), Vicente del Saz Moreno (Comillas PCC, Madrid), Juana María González Barranco (Fuensanta PCC, Córdoba), Leonor García de Vinuesa (La Carlota PCC, Córdoba), Pilar Ayuso Martín (Fuente de San Luis PCC, Valencia), Álvaro Bonet Pla (Salvador Pau PCC, Valencia), Dolores Rueda (La Chana PCC, Granada), Mari Paz Carmona (La Chana PCC, Granada), Mercedes Arnalte Barrera (La Merced PCC, Cádiz), María Dolores Acemel Hidalgo (San Telmo PCC, Cádiz), Luis María Garralón Ruiz (Puerto Real PCC, Cádiz).

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