Objectives: To analyze the temporal distribution of mortality due to violence by intimate partners (VIP) and to identify possible temporal clusters in women deaths by VIP in Spain.
Methods: We performed a descriptive epidemiological study based on the VIP deaths included in the database of the Federation of Divorced and Separated Women (1998-2003). The epidemic index (EI) was calculated as the ratio between the actual number of VIP deaths in a given month from January to July 2003 and the median number in the same month in the five preceding years. A Poisson model was used to analyze the distribution by years (1998-2002), seasons, months, and days. Simple regression analysis was performed with three-monthly means. A temporal cluster analysis was also carried out.
Results: In 2003, the EI of VIP mortality was high in January (EI = 1.6), March (EI = 1.2), May (EI = 1.5), June (EI = 2), and July (EI = 2.5). Compared with 1998 and Sundays, respectively, mortality due to VIP was significantly increased in 2001 (relative risk, RR = 1.52; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.05-2.20) and on Mondays (RR = 1.77; 95%CI, 1.13-2.76). The regression analyses confirmed an increase between the first three-month period of 1998 and the last three-month period of 2001. There were no differences between seasons and months. No temporal clusters of deaths were detected.
Conclusions: VIP is currently an increasing epidemic in Spain with no clear temporal pattern. Political and legal efforts to reduce this problem do not seem to be successful.