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.