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Year : 2022  |  Volume : 66  |  Issue : 4  |  Page : 410-414  

Study on intimate partner violence against rural tribal women of reproductive age group in siliguri subdivision of Darjeeling District, West Bengal

1 Senior Resident, Department of Community Medicine, Barasat Government Medical College and Hospital, Kolkata, West Bengal, India
2 Associate Professor, Department of Community Medicine, North Bengal Medical College and Hospital, Siliguri, West Bengal, India
3 Assistant Professor, Department of Community Medicine, Barasat Government Medical College and Hospital, Kolkata, West Bengal, India

Date of Submission08-Nov-2022
Date of Decision10-Nov-2022
Date of Acceptance11-Nov-2022
Date of Web Publication31-Dec-2022

Correspondence Address:
Ananya Ramanandi Jyotirmay
Department of Community Medicine, Barasat Government Medical College and Hospital, Kolkata, West Bengal
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/ijph.ijph_1503_22

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Background: Since the early 1990s, several milestone international declarations have recognized violence against women as a violation of human rights. Intimate partner violence (IPV), often used synonymously with domestic abuse or domestic violence against women, is a big burden to our society which manifests itself in many forms and it has its existence in every corner of the world irrespective of all the boundaries. Objectives: The objective of this study was to find out the prevalence of IPV against reproductive age group tribal women in Siliguri subdivision of Darjeeling district. Methodology: A cross-sectional study was carried out among 360 tribal women aged between 15 and 49 years residing at selected villages across Siliguri subdivision. Data regarding IPV were collected using the Indian Family Violence and Control Scale questionnaire. The data were analyzed using SPSS version 20 and multi-variable logistic regression was done to find out factors associated with domestic violence. Results: The study revealed that 70.3% of women had experienced domestic violence in any form in their lifetime. Logistic regression revealed that IPV was significantly associated with: age between 30 and 49 years, education above primary school, unskilled occupation, ₹ 2500 and above per-capita monthly income, and participants who are separated/broken up. Among the factors related to the male partner, literacy above primary school level was associated with experience to domestic violence. Conclusion: Domestic violence in all its manifestations was found to be present in the study population. The report may offer policymakers fresh perspectives on how to allocate funds for the complete elimination of domestic violence against women.

Keywords: Domestic violence, intimate partner violence, physical violence, psychological violence, sexual violence, violence through controlling behavior

How to cite this article:
Jyotirmay AR, Bhattacherjee S, Tirkey L, Dalui A. Study on intimate partner violence against rural tribal women of reproductive age group in siliguri subdivision of Darjeeling District, West Bengal. Indian J Public Health 2022;66:410-4

How to cite this URL:
Jyotirmay AR, Bhattacherjee S, Tirkey L, Dalui A. Study on intimate partner violence against rural tribal women of reproductive age group in siliguri subdivision of Darjeeling District, West Bengal. Indian J Public Health [serial online] 2022 [cited 2023 Mar 29];66:410-4. Available from:

   Introduction Top

Intimate partner violence (IPV) against women is a big burden to our society which manifests itself in many forms and exists everywhere in the world regardless of culture, class, education, income, religion, or nationality. Millions of women continue to suffer in silence, which not only violates their human rights and denies them equality and dignity but also acts as a global epidemic that exploits women physically, psychologically, sexually, and economically even in the 21st century, when the whole world is talking about how women should be empowered in every facet of life.

The World Health Organization (WHO) defined domestic violence as “the intentional use of physical force, power threatened or actual, against oneself, another person or against a group or community that either results in or has a high likelihood of resulting in injury, death, psychological harm, mal-development or deprivation.”[1] Domestic violence is broadly grouped under (a) physical abuse, (b) psychological and emotional abuse, and (c) sexual abuse.

The phrase “IPV” is often used interchangeably with “domestic abuse” or “domestic violence,”[2] but it refers specifically to violence that occurs between intimate partners who are married, cohabiting, or not.[3] The WHO has also added “abuse through controlling behavior as a form of abuse.”[4]

In India, the Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act of 2005 also includes (e) economic abuse under the definition of domestic violence.[5] Gender gap in India runs deep, as revealed by the Global Gender Gap Report 2020, released by the World Economic Forum, pathetically India ranks at 112 among the 153 countries considered.[6] According to the National Crime Records Bureau, Ministry of Home Affairs, Government of India, in the year 2018, total 15,309 cases of crimes against women were registered, out of which 31.9% were “Cruelty by Husband or His Relatives.”[7]

The shifting socioeconomic milieu in which tribal women are positioned is often thought to make them more susceptible to external factors. They face a variety of difficulties and problems in their daily lives as a result of the current situation. As a result, there is violence both at home and at work as well as numerous sorts of prejudice.

Although there are many studies depicting the burden of domestic violence globally as well as in India, the present study is planned with the aim of generating information regarding domestic violence against the tribal women in reproductive age group of rural areas in Siliguri subdivision of Darjeeling district.


  1. To determine the magnitude of IPV against reproductive age group tribal women in Siliguri subdivision of Darjeeling district
  2. To find out the sociodemographic factors associated with IPV among the study population.

   Materials and Methods Top

This descriptive epidemiological study with cross-sectional design was conducted among the tribal women, aged between 15 and 49 years, residing at rural areas of Siliguri subdivision. Considering a prevalence of IPV as 36.9% (National Family Health Survey 4 [NFHS-4]), design effect 2%, and 10% nonresponse, the final sample size was calculated using Cochran's formula and the final sample size of 360.

The first step was to compile a list of the villages in the four community development blocks of the Siliguri subdivision (Naxalbari, Kharibari, Phansidewa, and Matigara) with a tribal population of 50% or more as determined by the 2011 census. Cluster sampling technique was used where these villages were chosen as sampling units (clusters). The number of clusters decided for the study was 30, and accordingly, the cluster size was 360/30 = 12.

From a table of random numbers, one number was chosen at random that was closer to the sampling interval. The first village whose population equaled or exceeded the random number was identified as first cluster. The subsequent clusters were chosen by adding the sampling interval with the random number.

A list of tribal households was prepared in each identified cluster with the assistance of the local panchayat and a local health worker (Auxiliary Nurse Midwife and Accredited Social Health Activist). Twelve tribal households were randomly chosen from this sampling frame for the study. Each household only had one qualified study participant chosen for a detailed survey. The youngest eligible individual was selected from households having more than one eligible participant to eliminate recall bias.

Data on sociodemographic profile of the participants were collected by house-to-house interview using a predesigned, pretested, semi-structured questionnaire, and the validated Hindi version of the Indian Family Violence and Control Scale (IFVCS) questionnaire[8] was used to collect data regarding domestic violence. The IFVCS was designed to measure physical, sexual, and psychological abuse and control (including financial control) experienced by a married woman at the hands of her spouse and marital family in India.

For each category of violence, a two-step cluster analysis was conducted among the participants to identify groups of individuals who were homogenous within themselves but varied with respect to their experiences of various forms of domestic violence. Cluster analysis made the use of each subscale's individual items.

The collected data were entered into a Microsoft Excel data sheet after being reviewed for consistency and completeness. The IBM SPSS Statistics for Windows, Version 20.0. Armonk, NY: IBM Corp. was used to analyze the data. Multivariable logistic regression was done to find out factors associated with domestic violence.

Ethical issues

Institutional ethical clearance was obtained before commencement of the study. The study participants were briefed about the study purpose and procedure and also about the voluntary nature of their participation. Informed consent was obtained from every respondent prior to data collection after assuring about the confidentiality and anonymity of the information.

   Results Top

A total of 360 eligible women were included in the study. The majority of them (51.1%) were between the ages of 15 and 29, and more than half (61.7%) were literate beyond the level of primary education. A vast majority of participants (85.8%) were unskilled workers. More than three-fourths of participants (78.5%) were currently married, living with partner, and 84.7% of them had male children. More than half (66.7%) of the participant's husbands or partners had literacy below the level of the primary school, and the majority (89.4%) had alcohol addictions.

Out of the total respondents, almost three-fourths of them (70.3%) had experienced domestic violence in any form in their lifetime. Sexual violence was the predominant as reported by half of them (50.3%) followed by violence through controlling behavior (33.1%), physical violence (29.4%), and psychological violence (12.5%) [Table 1].
Table 1: Distribution of study participants according to their experience of domestic violence* (n=360)

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Domestic violence was significantly associated with the respondent's skilled work, income of more than ₹ 2500 per capita per month, marital status as separated or divorced person, and the presence of a male child. After adjusting, a significant association was found between a number of study participant-related factors, including age between 30 and 49 years (adjusted odds ratio [AOR]: 0.123 [0.047, 0.327]), education beyond the primary school level (AOR: 2.233 [1.072, 4.651]), unskilled occupation (AOR: 0.192 [0.079, 0.467]), ₹ 2500 and above per-capita monthly income (AOR: 0.247 [0.130, 0.470]), and marital status as separated/broken up (AOR: 35.888 (6.949, 185.346)). Among the characteristics relating to the male partner, experience of domestic violence was associated with literacy above the primary school level (AOR: 0.052, 0.022–0.122) [Table 2].
Table 2: Association of any form of domestic violence with background characteristics of the study participants (n=360)

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   Discussion Top

The study involved 360 tribal women of reproductive age who lived in selected clusters across all four blocks of the Siliguri subdivision. More than half of the study participants (70.3%) had experienced domestic violence in some way, followed by 50.3% who had experienced sexual violence, 33.1% who had experienced violence through controlling behavior, 29.4% who had experienced physical violence, and least (12.5%) who had experienced psychological violence.

According to the WHO estimates, one in three women worldwide have experienced physical or sexual intimate relationship abuse or nonpartner sexual violence at some point in their lives.[9] According to a study by Babu and Kar in Orissa, West Bengal, Bihar, and Jharkhand, Jharkhand had the highest lifetime incidence of physical violence (21.1%), followed by West Bengal (14.6%) and Orissa (13.2%). In Eastern India, the prevalence of physical, psychological, sexual, and other types of violence against women was, respectively, 16%, 52%, 25%, and 56%.[10],[11] In their study in a slum in Kolkata, Sinha et al. found that the prevalence of domestic violence was 54%.[12] According to Ray et al.'s study in North Bengal's urban area, women experienced physical violence (52.1%) the most frequently, followed by emotional and controlling behavior (48.9%), and sexual violence (37.3%) the least frequently.[13]

The current study found that domestic violence was more common in the tribal women as compared to the earlier cited studies. This variation may be caused by cultural differences in how likely women are to provide information about their experiences with violence. The questionnaire used in this study, based on the India Family Violence Control Scale, might also be the cause of the discrepancy. In contrast, the majority of other studies adopted the “multi-country study on women's health and domestic violence against women” and “Women's Questionnaire” of the WHO. The high prevalence can also be ascribed to the participants' low inhibitions and comfort level with the researchers and the institution conducting this study. This resulted from decades of low-level health-care efforts by the institution and the researcher's feminine sex.

Similar to many illnesses and injuries, IPV varies greatly with age. Numerous earlier research have demonstrated that the prevalence of IPV is higher in younger than older women. Women aged 30 years and more have a much lower probability of encountering any kind of domestic violence than younger women. The present study's findings about the prevalence of various forms of domestic abuse by age are in line with those of numerous other research. In all countries except Japan and Ethiopia, younger women, aged 15–19, were more likely to experience physical or sexual assault, or both, from a partner, according to global estimates provided by the WHO.[9] Furthermore, in a study among Bangladeshi women, the authors showed that all forms of violence decrease with the increase of age.[14]

Women's educational attainment is recognized to have a protective impact against physical abuse from intimate partners, because education might increase social and economic empowerment as well as increased autonomy. In the present study, women educated above primary school level had twice the risk than the less educated and illiterate women. The higher a woman gets educated, she becomes more conscious about her dignity, so any kind of domestic violence could raise her voice to disclose, which were accepted as normal by the less educated and illiterate women. In their study among married women in a rural area of Puducherry, George et al. discovered a significant association between women's literacy and domestic violence. (AOR: 4.3, 95% confidence interval: 1.2–15.7, P = 0.03).[15]

The current study found that women who had husbands or partners who had education above a basic school diploma had a significantly lower probability of experiencing any type of domestic abuse (AOR: 0.052) than women whose husbands or partners had less education or were illiterate. This might be because the higher a man gets educated, his perspective shifts, and he starts to value greater understanding in respectful and equitable gender relations. Solomon et al.'s study discovered a strong correlation between spouse's education level and inter-partner violence: women who had male partners who had only completed elementary school or middle school had odds of 1.7 and 1.99, respectively, for experiencing greater rates of violence.[16]

According to this study, women who work in skilled occupations had much lower odds of encountering any type of domestic violence (AOR: 0.192 [0.079–0.467]) than women who work in unskilled occupations. The majority of unskilled workers women came from lower socioeconomic classes, where a rise in domestic violence may have been influenced by money problems, workplace discontent, and job instability. In his study, Koustuv Dalal reported that working women had higher probabilities of experiencing emotional violence, severe physical violence, and sexual violence than nonworking women. Women who worked seasonally or irregularly were more likely to be severely physically abused than the women who regularly worked all year round.[17]

In this study, women with a per capita income (PCI) of the family above ₹ 2500 had a lower likelihood of experiencing domestic abuse in any form than women with a PCI of the family below ₹ 2500. In lower socioeconomic classes, in addition to financial hardship, job dissatisfaction, frustration with scarce resources, patriarchal upbringing, illiteracy, and alcoholism may also have contributed to domestic violence against the female members of those families. According to the NFHS-4 report (2015–16), women from families with the lowest wealth index experienced more physical, sexual, and emotional violence than women from higher wealth families.[18] In their study in North West India, Gupta et al. reported that among women with families earning between ₹ 10,000 and ₹ 25,000, the odds of experiencing domestic violence was higher as compared to women from lower income.[18]

According to this study, women who were divorced or separated had a significantly high chance of experiencing domestic abuse at some point in their lives. The conclusion raises the possibility that domestic violence was a factor in their divorce. In accordance with the NFHS-4 report (2015–16), physical and sexual violence was more common in women who had been widowed, divorced, separated, or deserted.[19]

Son preference, a common sociocultural norm in many South Asian countries, including India, has been considered a determinant of women's risk of IPV experience. In the current study, women who had male children had lower odds of encountering any type of domestic violence than women who did not have any male children. The presence of a male child is valued more in India's patriarchal society, hence violence is more prevalent among women who did not have a male child. Similar results were obtained by Gupta et al. in their study; the odds of domestic violence were higher in families with female children compared to male children.[18] In his study, Sarkar discovered that the majority of the females cited the lack of a male child as the primary cause of marital violence.[20]

   Conclusion Top

IPV was high among reproductive age group tribal women in Siliguri subdivision of Darjeeling district. Identifying the high-risk individuals is important to strengthen the link between social and national health systems, family laws as well as police investigations to prevent the high impact of IPV against women.


I feel privileged to express my sense of gratitude to Professor (Dr.) Gautam Dhar Sir, Ex-Head of the Department of Community Medicine, North Bengal Medical College and Hospital, for his guidance, limitless affection, and inspiration throughout the course of the endeavor.

Financial support and sponsorship


Conflicts of interest

There are no conflicts of interest.

   References Top

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Krug EG, Mercy JA, Dahlberg LL, Zwi AB. The world report on violence and health. Lancet 2002;360:1083-8.  Back to cited text no. 3
World Health Organization. Understanding and addressing violence against women: Intimate partner violence. World Health Organization; 2012. Available at: [Last accessed on 01 December 2022].  Back to cited text no. 4
Govt of India. 2005. The Protection of Women From Domestic Violence Act; p. 2005. Available at: [Laast accessed on 1st December 2022].  Back to cited text no. 5
Das GG, Drine I. Distance from the technology frontier: How could Africa catch-up via socio-institutional factors and human capital? Technol Forecast Soc Change 2020;150:119755.  Back to cited text no. 6
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Kalokhe AS, Stephenson R, Kelley ME, Dunkle KL, Paranjape A, Solas V, et al. The development and validation of the Indian family violence and control scale. PLoS One 2016;11:e0148120.  Back to cited text no. 8
Garcia-Moreno C, Jansen HA, Ellsberg M, Heise L, Watts C. WHO Multicountry Study on Women's Health and Domestic Violence Against Women: Initial Results on Prevalence, Health Outcomes and Women's Responses. Geneva: World Health Organization; 2005.  Back to cited text no. 9
Babu BV, Kar SK. Domestic violence against women in eastern India: A population-based study on prevalence and related issues. BMC Public Health 2009;9:129.  Back to cited text no. 10
Ministry of Health and Family Welfare. National Family Health Survey (NFHS-4), 2015-16, West Bengal, October 2017. Deonar, Mumbai, India: International Institute for Population Sciences (IIPS); 2017.  Back to cited text no. 11
Sinha A, Mallik S, Sanyal D, Dasgupta S, Pal D, Mukherjee A. Domestic violence among ever married women of reproductive age group in a slum area of Kolkata. Indian J Public Health 2012;56:31-6.  Back to cited text no. 12
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Rahman M, Hoque MA, Makinoda S. Intimate partner violence against women: Is women empowerment a reducing factor? A study from a National Bangladeshi sample. J Family Viol 2011;26:411-20.  Back to cited text no. 14
George J, Nair D, Premkumar NR, Saravanan N, Chinnakali P, Roy G. The prevalence of domestic violence and its associated factors among married women in a rural area of Puducherry, South India. J Family Med Prim Care 2016;5:672-6.  Back to cited text no. 15
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Solomon S, Subbaraman R, Solomon SS, Srikrishnan AK, Johnson SC, Vasudevan CK, et al. Domestic violence and forced sex among the urban poor in South India: Implications for HIV prevention. Violence Against Women 2009;15:753-73.  Back to cited text no. 16
Dalal K. Does economic empowerment protect women from intimate partner violence? J Inj Violence Res. 2011 Jan;3(1):35-44. doi: 10.5249/jivr.v3i1.76. PMID: 21483213; PMCID: PMC3134921.  Back to cited text no. 17
Gupta RK, Langer B, Singh P, Kumari R, Akhter N, Gupta R. Domestic violence in rural currently married women: effects on utilization of reproductive and maternal health services. Int J Reprod Contracept Obstet Gynecol 2018;7:602-7.  Back to cited text no. 18
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Sarkar M. A study on domestic violence against adult and adolescent females in a rural area of West Bengal. Indian J Community Med 2010;35:311-5.  Back to cited text no. 20
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