Intimate-partner violence and reproductive decision-making by women attending Victorian Maternal- and Child-Health services: a cross-sectional study Academic Article uri icon


  • The reproductive years are a critical period where women experience greater risk of intimate-partner violence (IPV). Most studies investigating the association between IPV and reproductive health have been completed in low- and middle-income countries. This study aimed to examine the relationship between IPV and women’s reproductive decision-making in Victoria, Australia. We analysed secondary data from a cluster-randomised trial of IPV screening that surveyed new mothers attending Maternal- and Child-Health centres in Melbourne. Survey measures included the experience of partner abuse in the past 12 months using the Composite Abuse Scale and four reproductive decision-making indicators. Results showed that IPV affects reproductive decision-making among postpartum women. Women who reported abuse were less likely to plan for a baby (adjusted Odds Ratio 0.48, 95% CI: 0.31–0.75) than were non-abused women, significantly more likely to have partners make decisions for them about contraception (Risk ratio (RR) 4.09, 95% CI: 1.31–12.75), and whether and when to have a baby (RR 12.35, 95% CI: 4.46–34.16), than they were to make decisions jointly. Pregnant and postpartum women need to be screened for partner violence that compromises women’s decision-making power regarding their reproductive rights.

publication date

  • 2018