The impact of severe intimate partner violence: determinants of intimate partner femicide and intergenerational cycling of violence

Year of award: 2023


  • Prof Rachel Jewkes

    South African Medical Research Council, South Africa

Project summary

Severe intimate partner violence (IPV) has an enduring impact on affected women and children: for some, it is fatal, and among exposed children, it fuels intergenerational cycles of violence. South Africa has one of the highest rates of intimate partner femicide (IPF) globally and large numbers of children are exposed annually. We aim to understand the pathways and mechanisms of impact of severe IPV on the social and economic circumstances, relationships and health of affected women and their children, with a special focus on risk factors for intimate partner femicide and the processes of intergenerational cycling of violence. We will recruit women approaching the Courts for Protection Orders (POs) for IPV and study their social and economic circumstances, the trajectory of contact with their abusive partner, further IPV exposure, physical and mental health, and the drivers of poor outcomes. We will investigate mortality by linking the cohort to the national death database, and use verbal social autopsies. A vital element is deepening understanding of intergenerational cycling of violence, and we will study IPV-exposed children of the women participants to understand the impact of IPV on their health and lives at home, among peers and in their relationships.