Background The prevalence of domestic violence remains unacceptably high with numerous consequences ranging from psychological to maternal and neonatal mortality and morbidity outcomes in pregnant women. The aim of this study was to identify factors that increased the likelihood of an event of domestic violence as reported by ever married Ghanaian women.
Methods Data from the 2008 Ghana Demographic and Health Survey (GDHS) was analysed using a multivariate logistic model and risk factors were obtained using the forward selection procedure.
Results Of the 1524 ever married women in this study, 33.6 % had ever experienced domestic violence. The risk of ever experiencing domestic violence was 35 % for women who reside in urban areas. Risk of domestic violence was 41 % higher for women whose husbands ever experienced their father beating their mother. Women whose mother ever beat their father were three times more likely to experience domestic violence as compared to women whose mother did not beat their father. The risk of ever experiencing domestic violence was 48 % less likely for women whose husbands had higher than secondary education as compared to women whose husbands never had any formal education. Women whose husbands drink alcohol were 2.5 times more likely to experience domestic violence as compared to women whose husbands do not drink alcohol.
Conclusion Place of residence, alcohol use by husband and family history of violence do increase a woman’s risk of ever experiencing domestic violence. Higher than secondary education acted as a protective buffer against domestic violence. Domestic violence against women is still persistent and greater efforts should be channelled into curtailing it by using a multi-stakeholder approach and enforcing stricter punishments to perpetrators.