A systematic review of prevalence studies of gender-based violence in complex emergencies

Trauma Violence Abuse. 2011 Jul;12(3):127-34. doi: 10.1177/1524838011404252. Epub 2011 Apr 20.


Current methods to estimate the incidence of gender-based violence in complex emergencies tend to rely on nonprobability samples. Population-based monitoring is undertaken relatively infrequently. This article provides a systematic review of published literature that represents attempts to quantify the magnitude of gender-based violence in emergency settings. Searches adopted a Boolean procedure, which led to initial selection of material that was then reviewed against set criteria. Only 10 studies met the final criteria for inclusion. Intimate partner violence, physical violence, and rape were the three categories of violence most frequently measured. Rates of intimate partner violence tended to be quite high across all of the studies-much higher than most of the rates of wartime rape and sexual violence perpetrated by individuals outside of the home. Direct comparisons of rates of violence were hindered by different case definitions, recall periods, and other methodological features. Recommendations for future studies are offered based on lessons learned from the studies reviewed.

Publication types

  • Review
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Battered Women / statistics & numerical data
  • Emergency Service, Hospital / statistics & numerical data*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Interpersonal Relations*
  • Male
  • Physical Examination / statistics & numerical data
  • Prevalence
  • Risk Factors
  • Sex Factors
  • Spouse Abuse / classification*
  • Spouse Abuse / rehabilitation
  • Spouse Abuse / statistics & numerical data*
  • United States / epidemiology