London, Nov 24 : Women who spend longer periods of their early lives in less affluent neighbourhoods are at a greater risk of experiencing violence during their early adulthoods at the hands of their intimate partners, according to a new study.
The research, led by the University of Oxford with the University of Bristol in the UK, looked at the participants of Bristol’s Children of the 90s study who were followed from birth and reported on their experiences of intimate partner violence between ages 18 and 21.
The researchers examined the level of deprivation in women’s neighbourhoods over the first 18 years of their lives.
“This is the first UK study, to our knowledge, to demonstrate that long-term exposure to deprived neighbourhoods appears to be an important factor contributing to increased risks of violent victimisation in young women by their partners,” said the study’s senior author David Humphreys from the University of Oxford.
The study, published in the journal Epidemiology, found that women who had lived in the most deprived neighbourhoods for longer durations over their childhoods were 36 per cent more likely to experience intimate partner violence between ages 18 and 21.
They also experienced this violence more frequently than women who had spent less or no time living in the deprived neighbourhoods.
Neighbourhood deprivation is often thought to increase this risk, in part because neighbourhoods with fewer social and economic resources tend to have higher rates of public forms of violence, like burglary and vandalism.
“Intimate partner violence is a major public health problem in the UK and beyond. To develop more effective prevention strategies, we need a better understanding of what causes this violence in the first instance,” said the study’s lead author Alexa Yakubovich.
The research adds to the evidence that economic inequality and deprivation, even at a neighbourhood level, increases a woman’s risk of experiencing abuse.