Understanding intimate partner violence and health in post-conflict Sri Lanka

Publication Date


Document Type


Publication Title

American Public Health Association (APHA) 2021 Annual Meeting

Conference Location

Denver and Online


In South Asia, intimate partner violence (IPV) is common, with a regional rate of 41% and country-level rates ranging from over 30% in India to 75% in Bangladesh. In Sri Lanka, reports of IPV prevalence have never been collected at the country level, instead only capturing rates of around 30-40% in various single-setting studies. The recent 2016 Demographic and Health Survey (DHS) in Sri Lanka has changed this reality; after the end of the civil war in 2009, the 2016 DHS was the first to ask a nationally-representative sample of women about their experiences of IPV. The 2016 Sri Lankan DHS marks a novel opportunity to understand IPV across Sri Lanka. Using disaggregated data from 2016 Sri Lankan Demographic and Health Survey, this paper seeks to identify the factors associated with recent IPV experience among Sri Lankan women, and how they differ across Sri Lankan women who did and did not experience the civil war conflict firsthand.
In preliminary estimates using DHS 2016 data, women across Sri Lanka reported experiencing IPV in the past year at a 17% prevalence rate. However, this rate varied dramatically by region, with women living in the war-affected Northern and Eastern regions of the country reporting recent IPV in numbers as high as 50%, and women in other regions reporting rates as low as 7%. This study seeks to understand this discrepancy in violence rates across post-conflict Sri Lanka through regression analyses using R software taking into account the complex sampling design of the DHS. In Sri Lanka’s post-conflict context, it is more important than ever to understand the factors that facilitate IPV, and the health consequences that can result. This research will add to the global literature on post-conflict IPV and its health consequences.


Social Work