Prevention of Domestic Violence: Literature and document review concerning the prevention of domestic violence, support of family relations and accessibility of services in Norway


Ingunn Studsrød; Irina B. Erdvik; Brita Gjerstad; Kathrine Skoland; Svein Ingve Nødland


Domestic violence, Gender Based Violence, Domestic violence Prevention, The Istanbul Convention, Violence in close relationships


This report is a delivery within the “Integrated System of Domestic Violence Prevention” (ISDVP) bilateral project between Poland and Norway. The bilateral ISDVP project is implemented within the framework of the Norwegian Financial Mechanism (Norwegian FM) 2014–2021 and founded by Norwegian EEA grants. EEA grants represents the contribution of Iceland, Liechtenstein, and Norway towards a green, competitive, and inclusive Europe. The PL- Justice programme is within program area no22 “Prevention of Domestic and Gender-based Violence” in Iceland, Lichtenstein and Norway grants priority sectors and programme areas for 2014-2021. All planned activities shall follow the Council of Europe Convention on Preventing and Combating Violence Against Women and Domestic Violence.

The main objective of the ISDVP project is to improve the system for the prevention of domestic violence (DV) and gender-based (GBV) violence. This report intends to contribute to the fulfilment of the ISDVP project’s overall aim to adopt and implement state-wide effective, comprehensive, and coordinated politics encompassing all relevant measures to prevent and combat all forms of violence in Poland. Moreover, following the PL‑Justice–Norwegian FM Programme’s agreement, the aim of this report is to present existing solutions and alternative measures for preventing DV in Norway and to review existing methods used in Norway for providing relational support.

To achieve these objectives, desk research has been the preferable method. Desk research (also known as secondary research) reviews governmental documents and reports (e.g., child welfare services), supranational-level documents and reports (e.g., the UN and EU levels), Norwegian research reports, social services acts and academic literature.

The review shows that the Norwegian approach to prevention is very broad, as it reflects the diversity and complexity of the problem as well as the understanding of DV. The Norwegian government emphasises the interactional aspects of violence in that violence involves an influential and continuous interaction between individuals and the various situations they encounter. Important risk factors are an interaction of societal and individual factors, such as unequal power relations between the sexes; childhood experiences of violence; cultural and subcultural factors; consumption of alcohol and drugs; family disagreements; and conflicts. DV occurs in different ways, varies in severity, occurs in many types of close relationships and can affect individuals at all ages. DV is gender biased and produced within and part of a gender order. Persons of both sexes are victimised, but generally, women are more severely hit than men. Children are also an important group here, as they become disturbingly affected by DV.

Moreover, the Norwegian experiences, positive as well as negative, also point to a set of recommendations that could possibly be related to the challenges of the ISDVP project, as it aims to improve the system for the prevention of DV and GBV and to take the necessary legislative and other measures to adopt and implement state-wide effective, comprehensive efforts to prevent and combat all forms of violence. Our recommendations include experiences and factors which may be related to the task of successfully dealing with couples, or previous couples, in partnerships that are at risk of falling into violence. Hence, we recommend the following. The actual services should have different relational and individual tools at their disposal to cope with diversified needs. The recruitment of couples to the service should be voluntarily based, with opportunities for access by different channels. A new kind of service needs promotional efforts of a different kind. This must be planned for. The development of integrated services requires a cross-sectoral competence strategy aimed at increasing phenomenon knowledge, competence in action and interaction competence among individual service providers and in individual services. Finally, although the focus in the project is on couples, it is very important to integrate gendered perspectives in all the main components of the project, it’s content and implementation.

Given the severity of DV, including GBV, the prevention of violence before it occurs is urgent and inevitable to combat GBV/ DV. Because the boundaries between prevention and treatment can be difficult to draw, prevention at all levels is important.

Author Biographies

Ingunn Studsrød

University of Stavanger, department of Social Studies
Postboks 8600, 4036 Stavanger

Irina B. Erdvik

NORCE Norwegian Research Centre, department of Health and Social Sciences
Postboks 22 Nygårdstangen, 5838 Bergen

Brita Gjerstad

University of Stavanger, department of Social Studies
Postboks 8600, 4036 Stavanger

Kathrine Skoland

University of Stavanger, department of Social Studies
Postboks 8600, 4036 Stavanger

Svein Ingve Nødland

NORCE Norwegian Research Centre, department of Health and Social Sciences
Postboks 22 Nygårdstangen, 5838 Bergen


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