Intimate partner violence against women in Spain: A medico-legal and criminological study.

Journal of forensic and legal medicine

PubMedID: 26165670

Regueira-Diéguez A, Pérez-Rivas N, Muñoz-Barús JI, Vázquez-Portomeñe F, Rodríguez-Calvo MS. Intimate partner violence against women in Spain: A medico-legal and criminological study. J Forensic Leg Med. 2015;34119-26.
Intimate partner violence (IPV) is a significant worldwide problem whose magnitude and risk factors vary across different settings and cultures. Nowadays, it is a priority to improve the knowledge on this issue in order to formulate better evidence-based policy responses. This study aims to contribute to a better understanding of non-fatal IPV against women in Spain. A retrospective analysis of IPV cases with a final judicial decision was carried out. The period under study extended from January 2005 to December 2012, with a total of 582 files included in the investigation. Most IPV victims were young adult women of Spanish origin, either married or single, with children, unemployed and with a low family income level. The majority of alleged perpetrators were young adults, employed, with a middle-low income level, a history of alcohol consumption/abuse, but no criminal records. Most victims had previous history of IPV, were engaged in a long-term relationship with their abuser and lived with him at the time of assault. The combination of psychological and physical abuse was the most frequent form of violence. The most common mechanisms of assault consisted in minor acts of physical violence, which resulted in mild injuries, most of them in the upper limbs and face. Nearly half of women sought medical care, but physician's injury report was only made in about a quarter of these cases, even though it is mandatory for health professionals. The majority of criminal proceedings were initiated by the victim's report and ended in conviction, most of them being considered occasional mistreatment. This study confirms the heterogeneity of the phenomenon of intimate partner violence. The importance of adopting standard IPV concepts and promoting the recognition and assessment of this form of violence amongst health care professionals, criminal investigators and forensic personnel is emphasized.