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The Nordic Paradox and intimate partner violence against women (IPVAW) in Sweden: A background overview

  • Maria Wemrell
  • Marisol Lila
  • Enrique Gracia
  • Anna-Karin Ivert
Publishing year: 2020
Language: English
Publication/Series: Sociology Compass
Volume: 14
Issue: 1
Document type: Journal article
Publisher: John Wiley & Sons

Abstract english

The global public health problem of intimate partner violence against women (IPVAW) is typically tied to gender inequality. Contrary to what would be expected, however, a 2012 survey conducted by the European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA) showed lifetime prevalence rates of IPVAW in the Nordic countries which were among the highest of the 28 EU member states, despite these countries being rated as some of the most gender‐equal in the world. The aim of this article is to enable a furthered understanding of this Nordic Paradox through providing an overview of knowledge about IPVAW in Sweden in relation to the apparent paradox. It assembles information on IPVAW prevalence, on Sweden's legal and policy framework, on perceived remaining challenges and limitations in responses to IPVAW, and on potential explanations for the Nordic Paradox as expressed in previous research. We conclude that a clear resolution to the Nordic Paradox has not yet been established. Further research is therefore needed.


  • Public Health, Global Health, Social Medicine and Epidemiology


  • Social Epidemiology
  • ISSN: 1751-9020
maria wemrell
E-mail: maria [dot] wemrell [at] med [dot] lu [dot] se

Postdoctoral fellow

Social Epidemiology



Department of Gender Studies


Department of Gender Studies
Visiting address: Allhelgona Kyrkogata 14, House M, Lund
Postal address: Box 117, 221 00 Lund, Sweden
Phone +46 46-222 00 00 (operator)
Fax: 046-222 40 04

Faculty of Social Sciences