Little is known of how widespread violence and abuse is within the Norwegian population. In the governments’ white paper on “Violence in Close Relationships, the Turning Point,” it is clearly emphasized that more knowledge is needed to prevent and reduce the occurrence of such violence. The Ministry of Justice and Public Security has therefore assigned the National Center for Violence and Traumatic Stress Studies, NKVTS, the task of investigating the prevalence of violence within the Norwegian population. In this study both violence in close relationships and other violence will be investigated to see its association with quality of life and health.
This survey will investigate how many individuals amongst the Norwegian population have been subjected to violence, sexual abuse/rape, harassment, loss, neglect and other difficult life situations. This survey will also investigate the proportion of individuals in Norway that feel safe and have experienced a good childhood. What effect does violence and harassment have on health and quality of life? There will also be questions asking if those subjected to violence sought out help in connection to the violence.
This survey will interview a randomly selected representative group of Norwegians comprising of 2000 men and 2000 women ages 18-74 years old, and an equivalent selection of adolescents 16 and 17 years of age consisting of 1000 girls and 1000 boys. Those randomly selected from the National Registry will be sent a letter containing both information and an invitation to participate in the study. Afterwards they will be interviewed by telephone by Ipsos MMI for NKVTS. Those who do not wish to participate can either decline before being telephoned or decline their participation upon being contacted by Ipsos. Those who want to participate but who do not want to be interviewed by phone can answer the questionnaire online.
The use of a telephone interview enhances the opportunity to ask follow-up questions for those who have experienced serious life events. It also enables the interviews to be short in cases where the individual has not experienced violence. Also misunderstandings can be clarified throughout the interview whilst conducting a telephone interview.
The following will be asked
• The informants’ background information
• Their feeling of safety
• Exposure to violence and abuse and other stressful life experiences in child- and adulthood
• Emotional reactions and subjective health
• Social support
• Subjective life quality
• Use of health services in connection to the stressful life events
• Contact with police officers and judicial system
This survey is approved by the Regional Committees for Medical and Health Research Ethics (REK) and will follow the Health Research Law and Personal Identifiable Information Law. All parties involved in carrying out the survey are under a confidentiality clause. Each informant is assigned an identity number and a key linking an individuals name to their identity number will be kept safe and locked away. All personal information from the interviews will be unidentified. The researchers will not have access to the informants’ names or other identifiable personal information. All informants will have the right to review the information registered on their person and be able to correct mistakes, if or when found.
The surveys’ results will be published in international journals. Reports in Norwegian will be published and results published on NKVTS’ webpage. More importantly these results will be reported back to government officials who can utilize these results in the development of policies involving health, social and judicial services intended for those subjected to violence. The results will also be used for long-term strategies that aim in reducing the prevalence of violence.
NKVTS will collaborate with Professor Dean Kilpatrick, Medical University of South Carolina and John Boyle at the American data collecting research firm, SRBI. Kilpatrick and Boyle have already completed three equivalent national studies in the US.
The Norwegian Women’s Public Health Association (NKS) is financing one PhD study associated with this survey.
Professor Miranda Olff at the University of Amsterdam will be involved as an international collaborator of the survey.
This research project is financed by the Ministry of Justice and Public Security. The conduction of this survey will be a collective endeavor between NKVTS and Ipsos MMI. NKVTS will be responsible for the construction of the questionnaire and the analysis and presentation of the results. Ipsos MMI will be responsible for conducting the telephone interviews.