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An Overview of Intimate Partner Violence Among Latinos

By Joanne Klevens

This article reviews the existing literature on intimate partner violence (IPV) among Latinos. It uses findings from studies about Latinos funded by the Center for Disease Control (CDC).  These studies include three surveys (among rural women in North Carolina, sites across the United States, and teens in Los Angeles); a qualitative study exploring beliefs and perceptions of IPV among Latinos in Oklahoma City; and a description of the development of a culturally appropriate intervention for Latinos in Massachusetts.

  • This review suggests that IPV occurs among Latinos as frequently as it does in other ethnic/racial groups.  Its dynamics and effects are also similar.
  • Among Latinos, beliefs approving IPV and alcohol-drinking patterns do not have a strong connection with the occurrence of IPV.  Many of the other risk factors are the same (class, living in urban areas, stress, mental disorders, etc.).
  • Social support and religiosity appear to be protective factors among Latinos.
  • Attitudes toward gender roles have not been associated with IPV among Latinos.
  • Stress related to gender roles, especially as a result of immigration and acculturation, might be unique to Latinos.  Male dominance among Latinas experiencing IPV deserves more research.
  • The main triggers for IPV incidents (jealousy and husband’s drinking) appear to be similar across ethnic and racial groups, but conflicts over housekeeping, money, wife’s going out, and wife’s pregnancy may be more frequent among Latinos.
  • Rates of IPV among Latinos increase the longer they lived in the United States.
  • Battered Latinas have been found to seek help less often from both informal and formal sources. Studies conducted in shelters suggest Latina survivors tend to initially share their experiences with family and friends.
  • The overview suggests that there are more similarities than differences between Latinos’ and non-Latinos’ experiences with IPV.
  • More research is needed to establish potential differences in the experiences of IPV among Latino subgroups.

Klevens, J. (2007). “An Overview of Intimate Partner Violence Among Latinos.” Violence Against Women, 13(2), 111-122.


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Domestic Violence Hotline:

1-800-799-7233 (SAFE)

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©2007. National Latino Alliance for the Elimination of Domestic Violence.
All Rights Reserved. Last updated 12/13/07.