Table 3

Findings from qualitative studies (N=16) and mixed-methods study (N=1)

Qualitative studies
First author, publication yearCountryObjectivesViolence typePerpetrator typeKey findings and hypothesised pathways to riskQuality (0–10.0)*
Logie, 201760 HaitiTo explore experiences of violence among internally displaced girls and women in Leogane after the 2010 earthquake.Physical, psychological, sexualStranger; intimate partner; family memberHousing insecurity=Internally Displaced Person camps common site of VAWG. Men enter tents with weapons and assault women.
Economic insecurity=Men loot homes and commit sexual violence if women are present in the homes. Poverty reduces women’s power in relationship—women do not leave husbands or report IPV because they are financially dependent. Self-initiated or pressures from family members to engage in survival sex. Male employers exploit women desperate for jobs.
Failure of law enforcement=Most incidents unreported because fear of retaliation by perpetrator and perception that police will do nothing. Perpetrators pay off police.
Bermudez, 201961 HaitiTo investigate the drivers of interpersonal violence in post-hurricane Coteaux.Any (IPV and non-partner)Intimate partner; non-partner (any)Economic insecurity=Violence triggered by economic stress from loss of livelihood, food security, housing and community destruction. Violence unreported by women because financially dependent on partners.
Rigid gender roles=As primary household providers, men feel inadequate when they are unable to fulfil role, assert dominance through physical violence, particularly when questioned by women on their ability to provide.
Substance use=Men’s increased substance use to cope with poor mental health. Wife’s disapproval of husband’s substance use and money spent can trigger violence.
Irshad, 201272 PakistanTo explore impacts of the 2005 earthquake on women and men who suffered disaster-related paraplegia.Physical, psychological; financial; controlling behaviourIntimate partnerLow status of women=Women experience pressure from husband/family-in-law regarding husband’s remarriage. Young girls (often orphans) married to older men as replacement wives and caretakes for paraplegic women. Child-bride strategic to ensure manipulation and control.
Financial violence=Despite abandonment, husbands collected wives’ disability stipends for new families/homes. Husbands believing that wives hide part of stipend triggers violence.
Parkinson, 201971 AustraliaTo investigate increases in IPV following the 2009 bushfires in Victoria.Physical, psychological, (IPV)Intimate partnerIncrease in new and existing IPV=Most women discussed new or increased violence in their own relationships or relationships they knew after the fires. Abusive ex-partners return to “help” after fires which creates opportunities to resume violence
Reasons for not reporting= (1) Reduced access to services and law enforcement due to reduced capacity; (2) fear of repercussions from partners, (3) desire to protect/compassion for violent partners; (4) family/community pressure to not report at a time of community tragedy; (5) women perceived as being disloyal if report partners.
Rezwana, 202062 BangladeshTo investigate the relationship between GBV and cyclone exposure in Barguna.Physical, psychological, sexual; forced early marriageIntimate partner; family member; stranger; authority figure; friend/ neighbourPredisaster=IPV prevalent and triggered by dowry, poverty, adultery, extra marriages, tradition. Forced early marriage common.
During disaster=Men pretend to be relief workers to abuse women. Women refuse evacuation/shelters because high rates of molestation, verbal abuse, rape at shelters.
Postdisaster=Sexual violence while receiving relief but also beaten by husband/family if refuse to collect relief. Increased poverty from high cost of recovery and reconstruction–women become more financially dependent. Poverty increases forced early marriage and labour of girls, increasing risk of GBV and trafficking.
Sohrabizadeh, 201663 IranTo examine VAW after earthquake and flood exposure in East Azerbaijan, Bushehr, and Mazandaran.Physical, psychological, sexualFamily member; friend/ neighbour; authority figureIPV existed predisaster but physical/psychological violence increased postdisaster, attributed to men’s reaction to stress. Decreased spousal sexual contact due to grief/stress triggers sexual violence. Mixed perceptions on increased forced early marriage due to postdisaster poverty. Verbal abuse common: family-in-laws spread rumours about widows to ruin reputation for remarriage. Participants denied that sexual violence can happen in the community because ‘all inhabitants know each other’.8.0
Fisher, 201064 Sri LankaTo examine the types of violence throughout phases of the 2005 tsunami disaster and assess whether levels of violence increased.Physical, sexual; forced early marriageIntimate partner; stranger; authority figureHousing insecurity=Rape and other physical/sexual abuse rampant in low security camps. Reports of extreme IPV (eg, severing legs, setting wife on fire) in shelters. Authorities and humanitarian workers commit sexual and physical violence in shelters. Increased vulnerability from poorly lit toilets; journeys to damaged homes or to fulfil chores.
Economic insecurity=Women vulnerable because financially dependent on partners. Increased forced marriage of girls. Over double the no of DV support referrals postdisaster compared with predisaster.
Stress/trauma=Violence triggered by trauma and stresses related to loss of home/livelihoods, lack of privacy, substance use. Husbands blame partners for failing to save children common context of abuse.
Human Rights Watch, 201125 HaitiTo explore women and girls’ access to reproductive and maternal health services; food and economic security; experience of GBV after earthquake exposure.SexualStranger; intimate partner; employerHousing insecurity=Limited security in camps and rape is rampant. Lack of lighting in camps enables rape and violence. Sexual violence existed before the earthquake but some evidence suggests increase.
Failure of law enforcement=Few women seek help from police. Women are ashamed to report rape. Mixed views on camp patrols deterring GBV, some women concerned that hours of patrols are too predictable.
Economic insecurity=Orphans live with families while doing domestic chores, vulnerable to rape by employer.
Parkinson, 201365 AustraliaTo examine the link between bushfires and increased VAW and describe women’s experiences.Physical, sexualIntimate partnerIncreased IPV=17 women personally affected by IPV, with nine never having experienced violence before the bushfires. Contact with abusive ex-partner may be unavoidable in shelters. Women may have to rely on abusive partners to stay relatively safe and housed.
Stressors=homelessness, unemployment, increased substance use.
Rigid gender roles=Men feel inadequate from not being able to protect livelihoods/homes. Women do not report because of community attitudes that justify men’s violent behaviour and pressures to stay silent. Reporting violent men perceived as woman causing the community more harm during a tragedy.
Rahill, 201566 HaitiTo describe the symptoms reported by victims of postearthquake and hurricane violence in Cite Soleil.Physical, psychological, sexualNon partner (Any)Majority experienced sexual violence immediately postearthquake. Extreme and purposeful injury with men using broken marbles and rubber bands during rape to severely injure victims. Sexual violence linked to vulnerability of women in homes and tents destroyed by disasters. Victims pregnant from rapes subjected to verbal and emotional abuse from community.7.0
Sohrabizadeh, 201773 IranTo assess women’s vulnerabilities after two earthquakes in eastern Azerbaijan in 2013.Forced early marriage, controlling behaviourFamily memberForced early marriage existed predisaster but exacerbated due to postdisaster poverty. Controlling behaviour of women by men to go to school, work, or to receive relief.7.0
Yoshihama, 201867 JapanTo investigate VAWG in the aftermath of the Great East Japan earthquake and tsunami.Physical, psychological, sexual; financialIntimate partner; family member; neighbour; authority figure; coworkersIPV=Majority described postdisaster increase in severity of IPV that had already existed predisaster; few cases of IPV began postdisaster. Husbands abandoned financially dependent family or squandered compensation payments. Exposure to abusive ex-partners with men returning to “help” or women having no option but to return to ex-partners due to loss of residency.
Non-partner violence=Sexual violence in shelters, family/friend’s residence, or temporary housing. Sexual molestation and voyeurism of girls at shelters. abuse by shelter leaders unreported because fear of being killed; abusing family; being removed from shelter.
Nguyen, 201868 PhilippinesTo understand VAWG after Typhoon Haiyan and characterise the drivers of violence.Physical, sexualIntimate partner; neighbour; authority figureHousing insecurity=Evacuation shelters heighten women’s vulnerability to violence.
Failure of law enforcement=Women believe their reports of abuse will not be believed. High incidence of rape by police and military.
Gender norms=Women are financially dependent on men and cannot leave abusive husbands. Expectations to remain submissive and accept violence as part of marriage.
Standing, 201669 NepalTo examine postearthquake VAWG and the role of grassroots activities for disaster response.Physical, sexualStranger; authority figure; family memberHigh levels of existing VAWG augmented postdisaster. Lack of security in shelters and tents increase vulnerability. Menstrual taboo means women may sleep outside of the tent until menstruation is over, increasing their vulnerability to violence.5.0
Nguyen, 201874 Philippines
and Viet Nam
To explore domestic VAWG pre and post-typhoon in 2013.Physical, sexualIntimate partnerWhile VAWG increased after disaster in the Philippines, it amplified existing violence and male dominance. In both countries, violence unreported to authorities because victims often blamed (eg, they are not good wives or have bad attitudes) and violence justified/normalised.4.0
Rees, 200570 Sri LankaTo describe a programme to support women and reduce post-tsunami GBV.SexualStranger; intimate partnerEconomic insecurity=Post-tsunami poverty made women vulnerable to traffickers and forced sexual relations to feed themselves/family.
Housing insecurity=Lack of privacy while changing clothes and receiving menstrual hygiene products leads to harassment. Insufficient lighting increases risk of rape. Women fear men because of high incidence of sexual abuse and unable to voice opinions/make decisions to address GBV risk.
Mixed-methods study
Azad, 201355 BangladeshTo examine flood-induced vulnerabilities among women living in Sirajganj District.Physical, psychological, sexual; IPVIntimate partner; neighbour; stranger; family memberDuring and after floods sexual violence against women increased. Sexual harassment particularly observed at shelters.3.1
  • *Based on the adapted CASP qualitative checklist with 10 criteria for qualitative studies (online supplemental appendix 6). Scores are calculated by dividing the sum of criteria met by the total number of criteria, where 0–3.3 was of low quality, 3.3–6.6 medium and 6.6–10.0 of high quality.

  • CASP, Critical Appraisal Skills Programme; DV, domestic violence; GBV, gender based violence; IPV, intimate partner violence; VAWG, violence against women and girls.