Who is suffering gender-based violence in Ukraine? A snapshot of domestic violence during war and a global pandemic


Research has shown that the risk for violent victimisation, including various forms of abuse and sexual violence, is high among individuals forced to leave their homes due to wars, humanitarian emergencies, and violent conflicts. Unfortunately, little is known about such critical issue as domestic violence within the home, as most research on humanitarian crises covers violence outside the home. Given that the home remains one of the most dangerous places for vulnerable individuals during wartime, it is crucial to address who is most vulnerable to becoming a victim of domestic violence in current war-torn societies such as Ukraine. Further, it is imperative to understand the characteristics of domestic violence at the “intersection” of war and a global pandemic. We use primary, self-reported survey data from an international research project entitled “A Cross-National Study of the Global Pandemic, Deviance and Health” to provide a snapshot of domestic violence in the current Ukrainian society and analyse the characteristics of self-reported domestic violence, both psychological and physical, which has been taking place during the Russian invasion of Ukraine and a global pandemic. Specifically, this study addresses the following research questions: What are the levels of domestic violence (both physical and psychological abuse) when it happens at the time of “intersection” between war and a pandemic? Who is the most likely to become a victim of domestic violence in this unique situation? Results from logistic regression models reveal that, compared to single individuals in Ukraine, people who cohabitate with their partners are at a higher risk of psychological abuse, while being married emerges as a “protective” factor against physical abuse. Additionally, having a higher SES significantly reduces the risk of psychological abuse from an intimate partner. Notably, in contrast with prior research, our results show that men’s odds of experiencing physical abuse are higher. Explanations for these unique findings and suggestions for future research are discussed.

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