Intimate partner violence (IPV) is recognised as a fundamental violation of women’s human rights and a widespread phenomenon in Africa. Women’s low socioeconomic empowerment, cultural acceptability, and lack of social support exacerbate the health and psychosocial outcomes of IPV among African women. To date, there is no systematic research on IPV and its association with healthcare use among adult women in Uganda. Therefore, we conducted the present study on IPV among Ugandan women of childbearing age (15–49 years). Cross-sectional data on 7536 women were collected from the Uganda Demographic and Health Survey (UDHS—Uganda Demographic and Health Survey 2016). The objectives were to assess the predictors of IPV as well as help-seeking behaviour for victims of IPV. IPV was assessed by women’s experience of physical, emotional and sexual violence and healthcare use was assessed by self-reported medical visits during the last 12 months. Logistic regression methods were used to analyse the data. According to descriptive findings, which showed that more than half of the women reported experiencing any IPV (55.3%, 95%CI = 53.6, 57.0), emotional IPV (41.2%, 95%CI = 39.6, 42.8) was the most prevalent of all three categories, followed by physical (39.3%, 95%CI = 37.7, 40.9) and sexual IPV (22.0%, 95%CI = 20.7, 23.3). In the multivariate analysis, higher age, rural residence, religious background (non-Christian), ethnicity (Banyankore and Itseo), secondary/higher education and husband’s alcohol drinking habit were positively associated with women’s experience of IPV. Husband’s alcohol drinking was found to be a significant barrier to seeking help among those who experienced IPV. In conclusion, our findings suggest a noticeably high prevalence of IPV among Ugandan women. There are important sociodemographic and cultural patterns in the occurrence of IPV that need to be taken into account when designing intervention policies. Special attention should be given to women living with husbands/partners who drink alcohol, as this might increase their odds of experiencing IPV, as well as reduce the likelihood of seeking help.
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License
which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited