Intimate partner violence in Sri Lanka: a scoping review

Ceylon Med J. 2015 Dec;60(4):133-8. doi: 10.4038/cmj.v60i4.8100.


South Asia is considered to have a high prevalence of intimate partner violence (IPV) against women. Therefore the World Health Organisation has called for context-specific information about IPV from different regions. A scoping review of published and gray literature over the last 35 years was conducted using Arksey and O'Malley's framework. Reported prevalence of IPV in Sri Lanka ranged from 20-72%, with recent reports of rates ranging from 25- 35%. Most research about IPV has been conducted in a few provinces and is based on the experience of legally married women. Individual, family, and societal risk factors for IPV have been studied, but their complex relationships have not been comprehensively investigated. Health consequences of IPV have been reported, with particular attention to physical health, but women are likely to underreport sexual violence. Women seek support mainly from informal networks, with only a few visiting agencies to obtain help. Little research has focused on health sector responses to IPV and their effectiveness. More research is needed on how to challenge gendered perceptions about IPV. Researchers should capture the experience of women in dating/cohabiting relationships and women in vulnerable sectors (post-conflict areas and rural areas), and assess how to effectively provide services to them. A critical evaluation of existing services and programmes is also needed to advance evidence informed programme and policy changes in Sri Lanka.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Disasters
  • Female
  • Help-Seeking Behavior
  • Humans
  • Intimate Partner Violence / statistics & numerical data*
  • Prevalence
  • Risk Factors
  • Rural Population
  • Sex Offenses / statistics & numerical data*
  • Spouse Abuse / statistics & numerical data*
  • Sri Lanka
  • Tsunamis
  • Vulnerable Populations
  • Warfare