Intimate Partner Violence and Civic Education in Liberia: A
Mixed-Methods Study of Service-Seeking Behavior and Civic Knowledge
in Two Monrovia Settlements
Bernstein, Erin Elizabeth
Master's Thesis (95 pages)
Committee Chair / Thesis Adviser: Stephenson, Robert
Committee Members: Scully, Pamela F ; Tomczyk, Basia (US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention);
Research Fields: Health Sciences, Public Health; Gender Studies; Sociology, Social Structure and Development
Partnering Agencies: CDC ; International Non-governmental organization (e.g., CARE, Inc.) ; Emory University schools, faculty or affiliated programs
Keywords: intimate partner violence; civic education; civic knowledge; IPV services; sexual and gender-based violence; domestic violence; women's rights; Liberia
Program: Rollins School of Public Health, Hubert Department of Global Health
Challenges to implementing effective intimate partner violence (IPV) prevention strategies in post-war environments include displacement, damaged economies, and shifting gender roles. Liberia offered minimal IPV services before the war (1989-1996, 1999-2003). Ten years into post-war recovery, Liberia has instituted one of the first national action plans to implement United Nations Security Council Resolution 1325. Despite these advances, IPV remains highly prevalent and little is known about the overlap between people's knowledge of the law and whether and how they access IPV services.
The study examined perceptions and accessibility of civic education and services following IPV in West Point and Peace Island, two urban settlements in Monrovia.It seeks to: 1) to determine community members' civic knowledge and trusted civic education sources, and 2) to document preferences in IPV services, perceptions of such services, and barriers to access.
We conducted eight structured focus group discussions (FGDs) (West Point: n=32; Peace Island: n=40) to determine available and preferred post-IPV services, service accessibility, civic knowledge, and sources of civic education. We also conducted five in-depth interviews and one FGD with purposively selected service providers to determine lessons learned for IPV prevention. Grounded theory guided qualitative data analysis on effective violence prevention mechanisms and perceptions of service accessibility and rights-based programming. A cross-sectional, three-stage, random cluster survey (West Point: n=212; Peace Island: n=183) assessed dispute prevalence, civic knowledge, trusted civic education sources, and services needed to reassert one's role in the community following IPV.
Disparities in how information links to services may depend on who generates and disseminates information and/or provides services. Differences in men's and women's acceptance of messages and interventions also emerged, illustrating that gender considerations also shape people's interaction with services and rights-based initiatives.
Organizations working at the community level should disseminate rights-based and IPV messaging through trusted sources of knowledge and utilize actors in the community as agents of civic education. In addition, integrating information on IPV services with civic education in Liberia could enhance the policies' relevance to nongovernmental services and adequate support of governmental services.
Table of Contents
Intimate Partner Violence in Post-War Settings 2
Economic Interventions 10
Engaging Men and Boys 12
Traditional Mechanisms 15
Civic Education: Diffusion and Uptake 18