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Keywords:

  • condoms;
  • contraception;
  • New Zealand;
  • violence;
  • women's health

Aim:  To outline the use of contraception among a representative sample of New Zealand women, and explore associations with intimate partner violence (IPV), and contraception and condom use.

Methods:  Face-to-face interviews were conducted with a random sample of 2790 women who had ever had sexual intercourse, aged 18–64 years old in two regions (urban and rural) in New Zealand. Analyses were conducted using logistic regression and Wald χ2 tests.

Results:  Almost all women had used contraception at some point in their life, and almost one half of all women 18–49 years were currently using methods of contraception. Contraceptive use and methods varied significantly by location. Women who had ever experienced IPV were significantly more likely to report having ever used contraception, compared with women who had not experienced IPV (91% vs 85.2%). While having a partner who refused to use or tried to stop women from using a method of contraception was rare, it was significantly more common among women who had ever experienced IPV (5.4% vs 1.3%).

Conclusions:  Most women have used contraception at some point. Women who have ever experienced IPV were: more likely to have used contraception than women who have not experienced IPV, and to have had partners who refused to use condoms or prevented women from using contraception. Partner refusal may be a key indicator of IPV. These findings emphasise the importance of family violence screening at routine health consultations.