This paper concerns the prevalence of intimate partner violence in 15 State capital cities and the Federal District of Brazil. A population-based multi-stage survey in 2002/2003 involved 6,760 15-69-year-old women (respondents). Using the Conflict Tactics Scales - Form R, the overall prevalence of psychological aggression and "minor" and severe physical abuse within couples was 78.3%, 21.5%, and 12.9%, respectively. Prevalence rates varied distinctively between cities. For instance, total physical abuse ranged from 13.2% to 34.8%. On the whole, prevalence was higher in the North and Northeast cities than in the Southeast, South, and Central West. Also, all types of intimate partner violence were more frequent in couples including women who were younger (< 25 years) and had less schooling (< 8 years). After stratifying by gender, although women tended to perpetrate at least one act of physical abuse more often, scores were consistently higher among male partners who were perpetrators. The results are compared to international findings. Regional, demographic, and gender differentials are discussed in light of the growing role of the Brazilian health sector in relation to intimate partner violence.
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