Examining the effect of residential change on intimate partner violence risk



Objectives: To examine the relationship between residential change and a woman’s subsequent risk of intimate partner violence (IPV), whether by a past or a new offender, a relationship that has not been prospectively examined to date.

Design: A dynamic cohort of women who recently changed residence (movers) was compared with those who did not (non-movers) for 12-month risk of IPV by a past offender and of IPV by a new offender.

Participants and methods: Secondary analysis of a linked, longitudinal National Crime Victimization Survey dataset including 10 754 recent movers and 10 236 non-movers among women aged 18–44 years.

Results: The risk of IPV by either a past or a new offender was almost double for women who had recently moved compared with those who had not moved. This increased risk proved to be robust, as it persisted when the data were weighted and unweighted, and when the main effect was adjusted by measured covariates.

Conclusions: The apparent increase in IPV risk after residential change may be a marker of a pre-existing problem or a precursor of subsequent problems. Unlike past research that has considered residential change after abuse or as a simultaneous exposure, this study focused solely on empirically measuring the risk of IPV after a recent move. This decision has important public health ramifications: determination of IPV exposure is not always possible, whereas soliciting a woman’s history of residence may be more feasible. If transience puts a woman at greater risk for victimisation by an intimate partner, increased awareness may have a vital role in protecting women who move.



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Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health


BMJ Publications

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