Author: Jennifer Pfister

How does the experience of intimate partner violence (IPV) affect the employability of an individual? And why might women in the Netherlands be more disadvantaged when becoming victims of IPV, because of their financial dependency? These are important questions that need to be addressed to develop protection strategies that enable individuals to break out from the vicious circle of IPV.

Consequences of IPV influencing Productivity & Employment

Research conducted in the US has shown that IPV has negative consequences on job performance, income and the duration of unemployment (Krug et al. 2002). The constant experience of violence and the stress reaction it causes has tremendous consequences on the cognitive capacities of an individual: focusing and concentrating at work becomes much more difficult, lowering the overall performance of individuals (Krug et al. 2002; Folk 2020). Additionally, victims of any kind of abuse (mental, physical, sexual) often have a lower self-esteem which is an obstacle in finding a job (CDC 2018). Those suffering from IPV – which are in the Netherlands more often women – are in many cases “unable to pursue jobs and careers” and experience longer spells of unemployment (Krug et al. 2002; Turkije Instituut 2018). On top of this, victims of IPV often have lower incomes (Turkije Instituut 2018). In a case study, women who experienced IPV earned 46% less than those who did not face abuse (Turkije Instituut 2018). In the Netherlands, a place where most women work part-time, especially female employees experiencing IPV might be at risk of becoming financially dependent.

Female Part-Time Employment in the Netherlands

The percentage of employees working part-time in The Netherlands is much higher than that of all other countries in the European Union (EU). The Netherlands has 37.4% of the working population holding part time jobs, twice as high as the EU average of 16.9% (OECD 2020). 75% of Dutch female employees work part-time, which affects their “earnings progression” and reduces their opportunities to obtain economic self-sufficiency (SCP 2018; OECD 2017). At the same time, only 52% of Dutch women are economically independent (OECD 2017). This fact might exacerbate the dangers of IPV.

Financial Dependency

The negative effects of IPV on performance at work together with the fact that most women in the Netherlands work part-time, means female victims are at higher risks of having low income. Not only are women more likely to become victims of IPV and therefore face an economic disadvantage, but the fact that they often only work part-time implies a lower income. Without a stable and sufficiently high income, women suffering from IPV cannot achieve economic independence. Such financial independence is however crucial to be able to leave a violent partner, especially when women share a residence with that violent partner. Without resources, victims of IPV are unable to pay for an own accommodation. It is for financial reasons that many women experiencing IPV cannot leave the violent environment and continue being abused (Bornstein 2006). As a result, victims of IPV experience two dimensions of poverty: The lack of security and economic independence (Spicker 2007).

Figure 1. A Vicious Circle of IPV and Economic Dependency

Figure 1 illustrates how lower income creates financial dependency on the violent partner. IPV is, due to its tremendous effects on an individual’s lowered self-esteem and cognitive capacity, associated with longer spells of unemployment, which translates into lower income (Lloyd and Taluc 1999). Low income implies financial dependency on the violent partner making it impossible to leave elsewhere. Staying with the partner means continuing to be exposed to IPV. Due to the effects of IPV and the fact that most female employees work part-time in the Netherlands, women experiencing abuse might be more vulnerable to have lower income and thus, becoming financially dependent on their violent partner. To find out whether the high rates of part-time work make women in the Netherlands more susceptible to face IPV, more research needs to be done.


Bornstein, Robert F. (2006). “The Complex Relationship between Dependency and Domestic Violence: Converging Psychological Factors and Social Forces.” American Psychologist 61(6) (2006): 595-606.

CDC (2018). “Intimate Partner Violence: Consequences.” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. At

Folk, Jim (2020). “Learning impairment, reduced ability to learn anxiety symptoms.” At

Krug, Etienne et al., eds. (2002). World Report on Violence and Health. Geneva, World Health Organization.

Lloyd, Susan, and Nina Taluc (1999). “The Effects of Male Violence on Female Employment.” Violence Against Women 5(4): 370-92.

OECD (2017). “How does The Netherlands compare?” OECD. At

OECD (2020). “Part-time employment.” OECD Data. At

SCP (2018). “Part-time working in the Netherlands.” Sociaal en Cultureel Planbureau. At…/Nederland%20deeltijdland.pdf.

Spicker, Paul. The Idea of Poverty. Bristol: Bristol University Press, 2007.

Turkije Instituut (2018). “Background Information about Domestic Violence against Women in the Netherlands.” Turkije Instituut. At

Could Dutch Women be at a Larger Risk to Intimate Partner Violence Because of Their Part-Time Employment?

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