Gender-based violence and its associated factors among internally displaced women in Northwest Ethiopia: a cross-sectional study

Keralem Workie, Techilo Tinsae, Endalamaw Salelew and Biksegn Asrat

BMC Women’s Health, Volume 23, Article number 166 (2023) 


This study analyzes the prevalence of gender-based violence (GBV) and its associated factors among internally displaced women (IDW) in northwest Ethiopia. As of September 2021, IOM (International Organization for Migration) estimated there were 2.6 million internally displaced people in the three regions (Tigray, Amhara, and Afar) in northern Ethiopia. 

The analysis was based on a cross-sectional study conducted among IDW in three humanitarian sites (Gondar, Dabat, and Debark towns) in northwest Ethiopia in 2022. 424 candidates were selected using a stratified simple random sampling technique, of whom 412 agreed to participate in the study. Study participants ranged from 18 to 50 years old with a mean age of 31. Participants were interviewed by trained psychiatric nurses, using a structured questionnaire that included sociodemographic information, and questions related to GBV, depression, anxiety, PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder), and behavioral factors. 

Main results: 

  • A considerable proportion of participants suffered from depression, anxiety, and PTSD symptoms. 53 percent had depression, 51 percent had anxiety and 56 percent had PTSD symptoms.  
  • The overall prevalence of GBV in the last year was 38 percent. The prevalence of threat of violence, physical violence, and forced sex were 29 percent, 16 percent, and 16 percent, respectively. The overall prevalence of GBV among IDW women may be higher if teenage girls are considered, given their vulnerability.  
  • GBV was statistically associated with young women in age groups of 18–24 and 25–29, being single, absence of social protection (such as male guardians or relatives), and alcohol use. The authors note that the causal direction is unknown, so GBV could also lead to the use of alcohol and other substances.  

The authors conclude that there is a high prevalence of GBV among IDW in northwest Ethiopia. Most vulnerable are young women, single women, women without social protection, and those who use alcohol. The authors call for immediate action and special attention to young women in conflict-affected parts of Ethiopia.