Measuring Violence against Women amidst War and Displacement in Northern Uganda Using Neighborhood Mapping


Stark, Lindsay, Les Roberts, Wendy Wheaton, Anne Acham, Neil Boothby, and Alastair Ager. 2010. “Measuring  Violence against Women amidst War and Displacement in Northern Uganda Using  Neighborhood Mapping.” Journal of Epidemiology & Community Health 64 (12): 1056–61.

Authors: Lindsay Stark, Les Roberts, Wendy Wheaton, Anne Acham, Neil Boothby, Alastair Ager


Background: Gender-based violence is viewed as a significant problem in conflict-affected regions throughout the world. However, humanitarian organizations typically have been unable to reliably estimate the incidence of rape, intimate partner violence and other forms of sexual abuse in such settings. Such estimates are required to inform programming in contexts such as Northern Uganda.

Methods: We sought to establish incidence rates for gender-based violence in internally displaced persons (IDP) camps in Northern Uganda. The assessments involved a ‘neighborhood methodology’, in which adult female heads of household reported about their own experience, their sisters’ experiences, and their neighbors’ experiences. 299 households were selected for interview across four camps using systematic random sampling.

Findings: Interviews were completed by 204 respondents (5 women having declined interview and 90 not having been successfully contacted). These respondents reported on themselves, a total of 268 sisters and 1206 neighbors. Reports with respect to these alternative populations produced estimates of overall incidence of intimate partner violence in the past year of 51.7 % (95% CI 44.8-58.7; respondents), 44.0% (41.2-46.9; respondents’ sisters) and 36.5% (30.7-42.3; respondents’ neighbors) respectively. In the same period estimates of incidence of forced sex by husbands were 41.0% (95% CI 34.2-47.8), 22.1% (17.0-27.2) and 25.1% (22.5-27.6) respectively, with incidence of rape by a perpetrator other than an intimate partner estimated at 5.0% (95% CI 2.0-8.0), 4.2% (1.8-6.6) and 4.3% (3.1-5.5) respectively.

Interpretation: Gender-based violence – particularly intimate partner violence – is commonplace in post-conflict Uganda. The ‘neighborhood method’ provides a promising approach to estimating human right violations in humanitarian settings.

Topics: Armed Conflict, Displacement & Migration, Domestic Violence, Gender, Women, Gender-Based Violence, Humanitarian Assistance, International Organizations, Sexual Violence, Rape, SV against Women, Violence Regions: Africa, East Africa Countries: Uganda

Year: 2010

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