Background: This paper investigates gender differences in persistence of intimate partner violence (IPV), for those remaining or leaving an abusive relationship. We followed a sample of males and females to examine whether leaving an abusive partner may alter the continuity of victimization.
Methods: Data were taken from the 21 and 30-year follow-ups of the Mater Hospital and University of Queensland Study of Pregnancy (MUSP) in Australia. A cohort of 1265 respondents, including 874 females and 391 males, completed a 21-item version of the Composite Abuse Scale.
Results: We found proportionally similar rates of IPV victimization for males and females at both the 21 and 30 year follow-ups. Females who reported they had an abusive partner at the 21 year follow-up were more likely to subsequently change their partner than did males. Harassment and then emotional abuse appeared to have a stronger association for females leaving a partner. For males, a reported history of IPV was not significantly associated with leaving the partner. There was no significant association between leaving (or not) a previous abusive relationship and later victimization, either for male or female respondents.
Conclusion: Changing a partner does not interrupt the continuity of victimization either for male or female respondents, and previous IPV victimization remained a determining factor of re-abuse, despite re-partnering.