Can we compare violence data across countries?

Sundaram, Vanita; Curtis, Tine; Helweg-Larsen, Karin; Bjerregaard, Peter (2004)
Co-Action Publishing
Objectives. The paper aims to explore what knowledge can be obtained about violence through population-based data and additionally, through inter-country comparisons of violence data. Study design and methods. Data on lifetime and 12-month experiences of violence and/or severe threats of violence were obtained from self-administered questionnaires supplementary to nationwide, cross-sectional health interview surveys conducted in Greenland in 1993-94 (N=2,425) and in Denmark in 2000 (N=16,684). The overall response rate achieved for the self-administered questionnaire was 63 % (N=1,393) in Greenland and 63 % (N=10,458) in Denmark. Results. A comparison of violence data shows that overall, the violence prevalence was significantly higher in Greenland than Denmark. Experienced violence and/or severe threats amongst Greenlandic women was almost as prevalent as amongst Greenlandic men – especially so for severe lifetime violence. This was not the case for the Danish sample. Significantly more Danish men than Danish women reported experienced violence and/or severe threats for all age groups. Conclusion. Comparing violence data across countries enables us to describe actual differences in violence prevalence, as well as to highlight potential methodological discrepancies and cultural and gender differences in understanding and, thus, reporting of violence. This knowledge can be implemented in the development and improvement of existing and new prevention strategies.Keywords: violence, gender, comparability

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