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

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


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.


External organisations
  • University of Valencia
  • Malmö University
Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Public Health, Global Health, Social Medicine and Epidemiology
Original languageEnglish
Article numbere12759
JournalSociology Compass
Issue number1
Early online date2019 Dec 14
Publication statusPublished - 2020
Publication categoryResearch