Hidden violence? An analysis of Oslo city’s general population’s exposure to threats, violence and sexual abuse.

Pape, H., & Stefansen, K. (Red.) (2004). Den skjulte volden? En undersøkelse av Oslobefolkningens utsatthet for trusler, vold og seksuelle overgrep [Hidden violence? An analysis of Oslo city's general population's exposure to threats, violence and sexual abuse.] Norwegian only.


This report is based on analyses of data from a random sample of men and women (aged 24–55 yrs.) in the general population of Oslo city. Data were collected by means of postal questionnaires, and more than four thousand persons responded (response rate: 56%). The aim was to assess rates and sociodemographic correlates of violent victimisation, notably victimsation within intimate relationships. We have also explored differences between victims and non-victims with respect to indicators of lifestyle.

Violence and threats- an overview
Results showed that slightly more than every second man and about four in ten women had been threatened and/or physically attacked after the age of 16. However, men and women had been exposed to different forms of violence: Men were more likely to report that they had been victimised by a stranger, whereas women were more likely to report that they had been victimised by intimate partners or ex-partners.

Violence and abuse in close relationships
In agreement with previous research, our analyses indicated that intimate partner violence should not be treated as a unitary phenomenon. Thus, the majority of both male and female victims seemed to have experienced ‘common couple violence’ (single incidents of violence), while a small proportion of the female victims had experienced ‘patriarchal terrorism’ (physical violence embedded in a wider pattern of power and control strategies). Compared to male victims of intimate partner violence, female victims were generally more severely victimised – both physically and mentally. Moreover, only women reported that they had been sexually abused by their partner(s) or ex-partner(s). However, for both genders, victims of partner violence were more likely than non-victims to get frequently intoxicated and to act aggressively towards other people.

Sexual violence
Sexual violence was reported by 16 percent of the women and 2 per- cent of the men. Among men, the perpetrators were either strangers or acquaintances. In contrast, one third of the sexually victimised women described an incident where their partner or ex-partner were the perpetrator.

Perpetrators gender and relationship to the victim
Across perpetrator-victim relationships, violent victimisation was more prevalent among recipients of social benefits and in groups with low educational level and economic problems. A similar pattern emerged in analyses of data on fear of violence. However, analyses of severely victimised persons revealed no socio-economic differences between those – Den skjulte volden? – 123 who had contacted the police and/or professional assistance and those who had not.

Fear of violence
Fear of violence and help seeking behaviour were both related to gender: Women were much more inclined than men to be afraid in their own neighbourhood after dark, and a much larger proportion of female than male victims of violence had received psychosocial assistance.