Emerging Partner Violence: Perpetration, Victimization and Help-Seeking During Early Adolescence in Malawi

Rachel Kidman , Stony Brook University
Hans-Peter Kohler, University of Pennsylvania

Intimate partner violence (IPV) is prevalent and results in a substantial public health burden. However, we know relatively little about IPV during early adolescence, when lifelong patterns are forming. This current study is one of the first studies to characterize IPV victimization and perpetration among a cohort of very young, ever-partnered adolescents (N=2,089) in a low-income setting. More than a quarter (27%) of the sample report being victimized. A substantial proportion of both genders (15%) report committing violence against their partner. Girls were more likely to report being a victim of sexual IPV (24% versus 8%), and boys more likely to perpetrate such (9% versus 1%). Childhood adversity was a consistent and strong correlate of both IPV victimization and perpetration. These findings underscore the need to intervene early, when we can still break destructive pathways and foster healthier relationships.

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 Presented in Session 2. Children & Youth