Methods: Data from the 2017 Survey of Police-Public Encounters (SPPE II) were used – a cross-sectional, demographically representative survey of adults from Baltimore and New York City (N = 1,000). Four forms of lifetime violence exposure were assessed using validated measures: 1) Adverse Childhood Experiences (physical, sexual, emotional abuse), 2) IPV (physical, psychological, rape, and sexual coercion), 3) non-partner rape (e.g., stranger, acquaintance), and 4) police violence (physical, sexual, and psychological). Demographic factors included age, income, education, race/ethnicity, gender, and sexual orientation. Descriptive and bivariate statistics (chi-square and t-tests) were used to assess prevalence and demographic differences in exposure to each of the 14 individual sub-types and exposure across all four forms of violence (ACEs, IPV, non-partner rape, and police violence). Multinomial logistic regression was used to assess the combine effects of demographic factors on poly-victimization exposure (i.e. two, three, or four forms).
Results: Over 20% of the sample experienced two forms of violence, 11% experienced three forms, and 4% experienced all four forms. Results suggest significant differences in rates of exposure to the 14 sub-types based on race/ethnicity, gender, and sexual orientation as well as differences in poly-victimization exposure across the four forms of violence. Women, sexual minorities, and transgender/non-binary participants reported significantly higher rates of childhood sexual abuse, non-partner rape, and most forms of IPV. Black/African American participants reported the highest rates of physical and psychological police violence exposure and had the highest rates of poly-victimization exposure than other racial/ethnic groups. Multivariate results suggest that female gender identity increased odds for exposure to two forms, lower levels of education increased odds for exposure to two and three forms, and Black/African American racial identity increased odds for exposure to three forms.
Conclusion: Exposure to multiple forms of violence particularly ACEs, IPV, non-partner sexual violence, and police violence are prevalent in the general population, with notable differences in prevalence among groups based on gender, race/ethnicity, and sexual orientation. Findings suggest the need for public health interventions aimed at preventing multiple and co-occurring forms of violence across the life span. Comprehensive screening in clinical settings is needed to account for victims’ violence histories across multiple interpersonal and community domains. Future research is needed on the etiology of poly-victimization exposure within sub-populations, including analysis with larger general populations samples.