"I don't feel like it's well understood": Perceptions and experiences of intimate partner violence among students at an Eastern Canadian university

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University of New Brunswick


Intimate partner violence (IPV) is a prevalent and pressing issue among university students and has devastating consequences for those affected. Despite the high rates of IPV on university campuses, the topic is often left undiscussed and overlooked as a priority. Using a mixed-methods approach, the current study was conducted to explore how students at an eastern Canadian university understand, experience, and disclose situations of IPV. A sample of 228 students were surveyed and 6 survivors were interviewed to gather information on perceptions, lived experiences, and help-seeking behaviours. Results suggest that students are aware of the basic aspects of IPV, although many of the complex components are misunderstood. Results also suggest that IPV is a common issue among this group of university students and experiences are often disclosed despite the significant number of barriers that deter help-seeking behaviours. This study shows the need for increased IPV awareness on university campuses in addition to resources specifically designed for IPV in order to prevent experiences and better protect university students.