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Professionals' perception of intimate partner violence in young people: a qualitative study in northern Spain
Umeå University, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Public Health and Clinical Medicine, Epidemiology and Global Health.ORCID iD: 0000-0001-7087-1467
Umeå University, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Public Health and Clinical Medicine, Epidemiology and Global Health.ORCID iD: 0000-0002-8114-4705
2017 (English)In: Reproductive Health, ISSN 1742-4755, E-ISSN 1742-4755, Vol. 14, article id 86Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

BACKGROUND: Intimate partner violence (IPV) is a public health problem with devastating effects on young women's health. These negative effects increase when the exposure to IPV lasts for a long time and exposure at an early age increases the risk of adult IPV. Despite efforts made in the last few decades, data show little progress has been made towards its reduction. Thus, the aim of the study reported here is to explore professionals' perceptions regarding intimate partner violence (IPV) among young people, focusing on the characteristics of the phenomenon and their perceptions about existing programmes and campaigns aimed at addressing it.

METHODS: Twelve professionals from education, health and municipal social services were interviewed. All but one of the interviews were recorded and transcribed verbatim. Data were analysed according to the methodology of inductive thematic analysis, with the support of Atlas.ti software. The transcripts were read several times and coded line by line. Afterwards, codes were grouped into themes. The developed themes were refined into two phases with the participation of all the authors.

RESULTS: From the analysis, the following three themes were identified: "A false sense of gender equity", "IPV among young people: subtle, daily and normalized", and "Mass media campaigns do not fit young people's needs". According to the participants, psychological abuse in the form of controlling behaviour by their partners is the most common type of IPV young women are exposed to, although exposure to other types of IPV was also acknowledged. This violence was described as something subtle, daily and normalized and, consequently, not something that is easy to recognize for the girls that are exposed to it, nor for adults working with young people.

CONCLUSIONS: The study participants showed good knowledge of the characteristics IPV has among young people. This knowledge was reflected in locally implemented IPV prevention projects, which they considered successful in addressing young people's needs. However, these interventions lacked formal evaluation, political support and continuation. The study participants did not believe that nationwide mass media campaigns realistically reflected the specific characteristics of IPV among young people. Thus, participants perceived these campaigns to be ineffective.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2017. Vol. 14, article id 86
Keywords [en]
Intimate partner violence, Professional role, Qualitative research, Young people
National Category
Public Health, Global Health, Social Medicine and Epidemiology
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-138468DOI: 10.1186/s12978-017-0348-8ISI: 000406709600002PubMedID: 28728584OAI: oai:DiVA.org:umu-138468DiVA, id: diva2:1135584
Available from: 2017-08-23 Created: 2017-08-23 Last updated: 2018-10-16Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. An insight into institutional responses to intimate partner violence against women in Spain
Open this publication in new window or tab >>An insight into institutional responses to intimate partner violence against women in Spain
2018 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Background

Intimate Partner Violence (IPV) has been widely acknowledged as a major public health issue and a human rights concern. The international burden of this type of violence have lead countries to develop institutional responses to address the consequences for women as well as to reduce its prevalence. With this aim, the Spanish government enacted in 2004 one of the most comprehensive laws in the world. Among all sectors, the role of health care professionals in the identification, management and prevention of IPV becomes essential. Thus, this thesis analyses institutional responses to intimate partner violence against women in Spain, focusing on the public health-care sector.

Methods

This thesis is based on three qualitative papers and one mixed methods paper. Data collection was conducted through in-depth interviews in the two first papers, documentary review and in-depth interviews in the third paper and focus groups in the fourth paper. In the first paper I used thematic analysis to explore the perceptions of professionals working in different sectors regarding institutional responses to IPV with special attention to prevention campaigns aimed at young people. In the second paper we used grounded theory to develop a conceptual model representing the diverse responses generated when attempting to integrate a response to IPV into a biomedical health system. The third paper mapped and explored the training in IPV that nursing students receive at the undergraduate level in Spain through the revision of public documents and individual in-depth interviews. The fourth paper explored nursing students’ perceptions of, and attitudes towards, IPV after having received specific training in the topic.

Main findings

One of the main findings in Paper I was that the sustainability of programmes to address IPV was always jeopardized by politicians and colleagues that did not considered that IPV should be prioritized. Concerning prevention campaigns, participants in that study perceived that they sent messages that did not fit young people’s needs and thus were ineffective. Besides, they stressed that institutional responses failed to focus on on men to discourage violence. The main finding of Paper II was the coexistence of a range of responses in the health sector that included avoidance, voluntariness, medicalization and comprehensiveness. Attitudes and beliefs of health-care professionals about IPV were strongly related with the development of this variety of responses. In relation with training (Paper III), the majority of nursing training programmes in the country have incorporated IPV training in their curricula. However, there was a great variability between universities in the topics included in the training. Which topics were included in the training programme was influenced by lecturers’ perceptions of IPV. Nursing students who have received training on IPV (Paper IV) showed an increased acknowledgement of IPV as a health issue and consequently considered that early identification of IPV and referral were part of their nursing role. However, readiness to act was limited by persistence of myths around IPV as believing false accusations of IPV being widespread.

Conclusions

Policies enacted with the aim of reducing IPV and its consequences in Spain have been essential for initiating institutional responses to IPV, specifically in the health sector. However, responses have been weakly institutionalized so far, favouring front line workers or ‘street level bureaucrats’ exercise of discretion. This leads to inequalities between and within regions in the country in the implementation of the policies. The most relevant element influencing the use of discretion in the case of IPV responses was the understanding of the relationships between gender inequities and IPV. The predominant gender regime of the institutions responsible for policy implementation influenced political and economic support for the development of responses to IPV.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Umeå: Umeå University, 2018. p. 63
Series
Umeå University medical dissertations, ISSN 0346-6612 ; 1992
Keywords
Intimate partner violence, nursing, health system, gender
National Category
Public Health, Global Health, Social Medicine and Epidemiology
Research subject
Public health
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-152636 (URN)978-91-7601-965-8 (ISBN)
Public defence
2018-11-09, Hörsal D Unod T9, Norrlands universitetssjukhus, Umeå, 09:00 (English)
Opponent
Supervisors
Available from: 2018-10-19 Created: 2018-10-16 Last updated: 2018-11-02Bibliographically approved

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Maquibar, AmaiaHurtig, Anna-KarinGoicolea, Isabel

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