Objectives: To determine the prevalence of intimate partner violence (IPV) in a sample of women attending primary care centers for any reason and to analyze the characteristics of this violence.
Methods: A cross sectional study was performed in 23 primary care centers in three regions of Spain (Andalusia, Madrid and Valencia). The sample included 1,402 randomly selected adult women aged between 18 and 65 years attending these centers. Among the variables collected through a self-administered questionnaire were the existence of physical, emotional or sexual abuse, and its timing, duration, and frequency.
Results: Overall, 32% had experienced some type of IPV. By type, 7% had experienced both physical and emotional IPV, 14% had experienced emotional IPV, 3% had experienced emotional and sexual IPV, and 6% had suffered all 3 types of IPV. Among the latter, 52% had experienced abuse for more than 5 years. Women who experienced abuse in a previous relationship had a greater probability of being abused by a new intimate partner (OR = 3.30; 95% CI, 2.10-5.18).
Conclusions: These results show the scale of IPV in Spain. Health professionals play an important role in IPV, as they are in a privileged position to tackle this serious public health problem.