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Interpersonal violence

Topic leader: Miranda Olff

Please contact the topic leader if you would like to initiate new projects or have other ideas about global collaboration related to this topic. You can also directly submit your project proposal here.

Interpersonal violence refers to violence between individuals, and is among the most impactful forms of psychotrauma, occurring all over the world.

Among the trauma types with highest burden are rape, other forms of sexual assault, and being stalked (Kessler, et al. 2017). Here we present research that address global prevalence of types of interpersonal violence and its consequences.

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Global SVRP

Sexual violence related pregnancies around the world

Project leader 

Elisa van Ee, Radbout University, The Netherlands 

Project group

Samantha  Nardella, Johns Hopkins University, School of Medicine, United States of America; Cantyo Atindriyo Dannisworo, Faculty of Psychology, Universitas Indonesia, Indonesia & Behavioral Science Institute, Radboud University, The Netherlands; Julia Wijnen, Train for Change International, The Netherlands/South Africa; Manon van Dal, Psychotrauma Centre South Netherlands, The Netherlands; Milou Wakelkamp, Behavioural Science Institute, Radboud University, The Netherlands; Shenaaz Pahad, LSHTM and the University of Witwatersrand, South Africa; Mariana Goncalves, Psychology Research Center, School of Psychology, University of Minho, Portugal; Elisa van Ee, Psychotrauma Center South Netherlands, Radboud University, The Netherlands; Rachel Williamson, University of Montana, United States of America; Afzal Nimrah, United Kingdom; Sumit Dutta, India; Selina Hard, University of Montana, United States of America; Sophie Collins, United Kingdom

Currently looking for more collaborators, please contact the project leader if interested.


Sexual violence, whether perpetrated by armed forces, strangers or partners, is prevalent worldwide and has far-reaching repercussions for victims. Despite increased attention for victims it is remarkable that an important issue remains unaddressed, namely Sexual Violence Related Pregnancies (SVRP).

Even though gender-based violence is of all times and ages, the exact prevalence of pregnancies or deliveries as a result of sexual violence is until today unknown. It is estimated that 5% of sexual violence victims become pregnant, however, outcomes of SVRPs and related wellbeing among women may differ over countries as the social environment differs. It is precisely this, an understanding of the relation between SVRP and wellbeing of women (and children) by developing a theory of change model of relational and societal factors of risk and resilience, that is achieved by this project.

The proposed project consists of two steps. First, to analyze the unique experience that acknowledges the complexity of the individual experience of these women dimensions of individual, relational and societal consequences and their relation to wellbeing will be explored qualitatively thereby creating a broader picture of protective and risk factors that may be of importance. In step two a descriptive cohort study over countries will be set up.


This project aims to improve the formal and informal support given to women when needed, firstly by generating an open discussion, secondly by an understanding of the mechanisms that contribute to their difficulties, and thirdly by an understanding of the support needed.


To analyze the unique experience that acknowledges the complexity of the individual experience of these women. Dimensions of individual, relational and societal consequences and wellbeing will be explored qualitatively, thereby generating rich data and creating a broader picture of protective and risk factors that may be of importance. To explore retrospectively women’s experience questions will be asked about, the process of choices, involved social network, norms and values, belonging, trust, factors of risk and resilience, given social support (positive and negative), needed type of support (formal and informal), experienced (self-)stigma, wellbeing, and changes throughout the process.


Interested in collaboration please contact prof. Elisa van Ee (


Sexual violence around the world: prevalence and mental health sequelae among college students

Project leader

Kayleigh WattersPalo Alto University, Palo Alto, USA 


Project group 

William F. Flack, Jr., Bucknell University, USA

Mohammad Hashim, Jamia Millia Islamia, New Delhi, India

Johannes John-Langba, School of Applied Human Sciences, University of KwaZulu-Natal, Durban, South Africa

Patricia Kulla, Universität der Bundeswehr München & Charlotte-Fresenius-University, Munich, Germany

Miranda Olff, Amsterdam UMC and ARQ National Psychotrauma Centre, The Netherlands

Krithika Prakash, Eastern Michigan University, Michigan, USA

Inga Schalinski, Universität der Bundeswehr München, Germany

Please contact Kayleigh if you are interested to contribute to this project. We in particular invite 'non-Western' researchers to join.


Sexual violence, defined as any unwanted sexual contact up to and including rape (Warshaw, 1988), amongst college or university students is a public health problem. Determining the global prevalence can assist us in better understanding the extent of the issue and barriers for seeking help. Sexual violence may lead to mental health outcomes such as posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), major depressive disorder, alcohol use disorder, and other substance use disorders. The global prevalence of sexual violence on college campuses and its mental health impact is not only an under-researched topic but prevalence rates seem to vary between the few studies done (Steele et al., 2021; Fielding-Miller et al., 2021) partly depending on inconsistent cross-cultural definitions and measurement of sexual violence. Additionally, research has yet to focus on college students who may not conform to binary gender. 



For this study we aim to assess rates of sexual violence on college campuses across multiple countries around the world, their mental health impact, barriers in help seeking, and to additionally explore whether there are significant differences in these outcomes for persons with different gender identities or for LGBTQ+ student populations.

Research questions 

  • What is the prevalence of sexual violence on college campuses in different countries around the world? 

  • What is the mental health impact of sexual violence in different countries around the world using similar methods of assessment? 

  • Are there any differences by self-identified gender and sexual orientation? 

  • What are barriers for (professional) help seeking and/or reporting sexual violence to appropriate authorities?



Proposed Data Collection Strategy - Online Survey, representative samples of univserity students

Add on: Interviews


  • Kessler, R. C., Aguilar-Gaxiola, S., Alonso, J., Benjet, C., Bromet, E. J., Cardoso, G., . . . Survey, W. W. M. H. (2017). Trauma and PTSD in the WHO World Mental Health Surveys. European Journal of Psychotraumatology, 8(1).

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