Leanza van der Westhuizen


Prior research has examined perceptions of intimate partner violence (IPV), and how these perceptions can influence responses and help seeking behaviour (e.g. Harris & Cook, 1994). In the current study, 91 undergraduate students (n=44 females, n=47 males) attending a university in North-West England read a hypothetical IPV scenario, experimentally manipulated by victim gender and perpetrator gender, and completed situational perceptions of responses. Overall, the results indicated gender had no effect on perceptions IPV, although it did affect participant responses. Specifically, male participants were less likely to encourage victims to seek help, and were more likely to ignore the situation. Scenarios which depicted male victims were perceived by participants as less serious, and were least likely to gain intervention. The findings of the current study are discussed in light of the importance of the development of services to raise awareness of IPV among students, and provide services on campus which can provide first-hand support.