On this page you can get an overview of our current and completed projects related to violence. At the bottom of the page you will also find an overview of all the centre's projects on rape.
Access the full list of publications for the topic of 'Violence' here
You'll find publications on adult incest, stalking, dating violence, assault, witnessed homicide, and rape, among others.
We have published a book called 'Voldsofre i Danmark' (Victims of violence in Denmark), which covers many different forms of violence. The book is only available in Danish and can be found here. The project is supported by the Victim Foundation.
Being a victim of violent abuse can be a life-threatening experience and result in traumatization. Therefore, we are also researching the presence of various pre-, peri- or post-trauma factors that may be associated with the subsequent development of ASD, PTSD or complex PTSD. Additionally, we research a wide range of other consequences that traumatic experiences can potentially lead to.
It is also important for the victim's psychological well-being to intervene quickly after the assault. The psychological trauma reactions are often long-lasting, especially without treatment. However, reducing symptoms and improving psychological wellbeing can often be achieved through rehabilitative treatment.
Below you will find an overview of current and completed projects within the research area. You can click through to a detailed description of each project by clicking on the project title. At the bottom of the page you will find a separate section specifically covering our research on rape.
Can't find what you're looking for?
- Projects on robberies or bank robberies, can be found under our research area of 'work' here.
- Projects on violence and traumatization of children, can be found under our research area of 'children' here.
- Projects on the treatments of victims of violence, such as intimate partner violence, can be found under our research area of 'rehabilitation' here.
- Do you wish to read about violence in the workplace, you can find this under 'work' here.
- Do you wish to read about violence against children with disabilities, you can find this under 'children' here.
Projects related to the research area:
In connection with the criminalization of psychological violence, we have written a memo to the Danish Parliament's Legal Affairs Committee. A larger literature review is currently being prepared.
Christoffersen, M., Elklit, A., & Vang, M.L. (2019): Barnets tarv i loven om psykisk vold. Notat om definitioner, forekomst og afgrænsning. Odense: Videnscenter for Psykotraumatologi.
Dokkedahl, S., Kok, R., Murphy, S., Kristensen, T.R., Bech-Hansen, D., Elklit, A. (2019). The Psychological Subtype of Intimate Partner Violence and its Effect on Mental Health: Protocol for A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis. Systematic Reviews, 8(1), 198-2xx. Doi: org/10.1186/s13643-019-1118-1.
Dokkedahl ,S,. Kristensen, R. T., Murphy, S., & Elklit, A. (2021). The complex trauma of psychological violence: cross-sectional findings from a Cohort of four Danish Women Shelters. European Journal of Psychotraumatology, 12 (1). Doi: 10.1080/20008198.2020.1863580.
Dokkedahl, S.B. (2023). Psykisks vold. I Elklit, A., Dokkedahl, S.B. & Christiansen, D.M. (Eds.). Voldsoffer i Danmark. (pp. 107-122). Odense: Syddansk Universitetsforlag.
Dokkedahl, S., Vang, M. & Elklit, A. (2022) Does Tonic Immobility Mediate the Effects of Psychological Violence on PTSD and Complex PTSD? European Journal of Trauma and Dissociation, 6(4). Doi: 10.1016/j.ejtd.2022.100297
Dokkedahl, S. B., & Lahav, Y. (2023). A Prospective Study of the Mediating Role of Tonic Immobility and Peritraumatic Dissociation on the 4 DSM-5 Symptom Clusters of Posttraumatic Stress Disorder. The Journal of clinical psychiatry, 84(4), 22m14613. DOI: 10.4088/JCP.22m14613.
Stalking is defined as a systematic series of attempted approaches, incidents and behaviours that are experienced by the victim as unwanted, repeated and persistent, and which are perceived as transgressive and intimidating for the victim. A population survey from the Danish Ministry of Justice from 2018 showed that 2% of Danes between the ages of 18 and 74 had been victims of stalking within the past year, which means that between 67,000 and 98,000 Danes are victims of stalking every year.
With this project, we want to contribute with an in-depth and broad mapping of the psychological consequences of stalking and the needs of stalking victims. With this project, we will investigate some of the issues surrounding stalking that are underexplored in the national and international literature in the field. These issues are all relevant to shed light on in order to provide effective and customised support and treatment for stalking victims.
The project is run by PhD student Didde Hauch.
Hauch, D. & Elklit, A. (2023). The Impacts of Ex-Partner Stalking on Children: A Psychological and Trauma Perspective on Stalking. Odense: Videnscenter for Psykotraumatologi, Institut for Psykologi, Syddansk Universitet.
The project has two main aims: 1) to investigate a range of biopsychosocial risk factors associated with being a victim of physical violence and an A&E patient and 2) to investigate the long-term health and social effects.
The first study is based on an analysis of 3940 victims of violence from Aarhus University Hospital. All victims were matched with a control group via various registers. A number of risk factors from five years before the assault were analyzed. The regression analysis showed that being male, divorced, unmarried, newly immigrated, outside the labour market and without education, having been a municipal children's case, having received a conviction and a diagnosis of substance abuse increased the risk of being subjected to violence. The latter two factors were the strongest predictors.
Murphy, S., Kruse, M., Elklit, A., & Brink, O. (2021). Psychiatric and Physical Health Outcomes Associated with Interpersonal Violence: A Propensity Score Matching Approach. The Psychiatric quarterly, 92(4), 1635–1644. DOI: 10.1007/s11126-021-09910-1
Murphy, S., Kruse, M., Elklit, A., & Brink, O. (2019). Risk factors for violence-related injuries in emergency departments: a Danish linkage study. European journal of psychotraumatology, 10(1), 1606627. DOI: 10.1080/20008198.2019.1606627
Elklit, A. & Brink, O.(2004) Acute stress disorder as a predictor of posttraumatic stress disorder in physical assault victims. Journal of Interpersonal Violence, 19(6), 709-726.
The project is a collaboration between VIVE, the University of Ulster and the National Centre for Psychotraumatology. We have compiled a coherent description of the many analyses in English. Read it here.
Elklit, A. & Murphy, S. (2022). The Nature and Extent of Child Maltreatment in Denmark: Using Self-Report and Administrative Data from the 1984 Birth Cohort. Child Abuse & Neglect. Doi: 10.1016/j.chiabu.2022.105786.
Elklit, A. (2022). Typer af børnemishandling og følgerne af dem. Pædagogisk Psykologisk Tidsskrift, 60, 47-57.
Murphy, S., Elklit, A., & Shevlin, M. (2020). Child maltreatment typologies and intimate partner violence: findings from a Danish national study of young adults. Journal of Interpersonal Violence, 35(3-4), 755 –770. Doi: 10.1177/0886260517689889
Murphy, S., Elklit, A., Shevlin, M. & Christoffersen, M. (2020). Child Maltreatment and Psychiatric Outcomes in Early Adulthood. Child Abuse Review, 29(4), 365-378. Doi: 10.1002/car. 2619.
Murphy, S., Shevlin, M., Elklit, A., McElroy, E. & Christoffersen, M. (2018). Parental Risk Factors for Childhood Maltreatment Typologies: A Data Linkage Study. European Journal of Trauma & Dissociation, 2(4), 189-195. Doi: 10.1016/j.ejtd.2018.04.001
Wolf, N. M., & Elklit, A. (2018). Child Maltreatment and Disordered Eating in Adulthood: A Mediating Role of PTSD and Self-Esteem? Journal of Child & Adolescent Trauma, 13, 21-32.
Murphy, J., Shevlin, M., Hyland, P., Christoffersen, M., Elklit, A. & Bentall, R. (2018): Reconsidering the association between psychosis and suicide: a suicide drive hypothesis. Psychosis, 10(4), 286-297. Doi: 10.1080/17522439.2018.1522541.
Murphy, S., Shevlin, M., Elklit, A. & Christoffersen, M. (2018). Childhood Adversity and Traumatic Disorders: A self-report and Danish linkage study. International Journal of Population Data Science, 3(2), 70. Doi: 10.23889/ijpds.v3i2.539
Hyland, P., Murphy, J., Shevlin, M., Vallieres, F., McElroy, E., Elklit, A., Christoffersen, M. & Cloitre, M. (2017): Variation in post-traumatic response: the role of trauma type in predicting ICD-11 PTSD and CPTSD symptoms. Social Psychiatry & Psychiatric Epidemiology, 52(6):727-736. Doi: 10.1007/s00127-017-1350-8
Shevlin, M., McElroy, E., Murphy, J., Hyland, P., Vallieres, F., Elklit, A. & Christoffersen, M. (2017). Cannabis and psychosis: the impact of polydrug use. Drugs and Alcohol Today, 17, 186-194. Doi: 10.1108/DAT-03-2017-0014
Shevlin, M., Hyland, P., Murphy, J., Elklit, A., Murphy S, Kearney, M., Christie, D. & Christoffersen M. (2017): Social, familial and psychological risk factors for any endocrine, nutritional and metabolic disorders in childhood and early adulthood. Current Psychology, 1-7. Doi: 10.1007/s12144-017-9687-4
Murphy, S., Shevlin, M., Elklit, A., McElroy, E., Murphy, J., Hyland, P., & Christensen, M. (2017). Validating Childhood Maltreatment Typologies Using Data Linkage. Journal of Loss and Trauma, 1-14. Doi: 10.1080/15325024.2017.1404204
Sanderud, K., Murphy, S. & Elklit, A. (2016) Child maltreatment and ADHD symptoms in a sample of young adults. European Journal of Psychotraumatology,7: 32061. Doi: 10.3402/ejpt.v7.32061
Cronin, S., Murphy, S. & Elklit, A. (2016) Investigating the Relationship between Childhood Maltreatment and Alcohol Misuse in a sample of Danish young adults: Exploring Gender Differences. Nordic Journal of Alcohol Studies, 33, 287-298.
Elklit, A., Michelsen, L. & Siobhan, M. (2016): Childhood Maltreatment and School Problems: A Danish National Study. Scandinavian Journal of Educational Research, 62(1), 150-159.
Schouwenaars, K., Murphy, S. & Elklit, A. (2016): The relationship between child maltreatment and exposure to traumatic events during later adolescence and young adulthood. Scandinavian Journal of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry and Psychology, 4(3), 115-122. Doi: 10.21307/sjcapp-2016-018
Hyland, P., Shevlin, M., Elklit, A., Christoffersen, M., & Murphy, J. (2016). Social, familial and psychological risk factors for mood and anxiety disorders in childhood and early adulthood: a birth cohort study using the Danish Registry System. Social Psychiatry and Psychiatric Epidemiology, 51(3), 331-338.
Shevlin, M., McElroy, E., Christoffersen, M. N., Elklit, A., Hyland, P., & Murphy, J. (2016). Social, familial and psychological risk factors for psychosis: A birth cohort study using the Danish Registry System. Psychosis, 8(2), 95-105.
Armour, C., Elklit, A. & Christoffersen, M. N. (2014). A Latent Class Analysis of Childhood Maltreatment: Identifying Abuse Typologies. Journal of Loss and Trauma, 19(1), 23-39. Doi: 10.1080/15325024.2012.734205
Armour, C., Smith, G. W., Elklit, A. & Christoffersen, M. N. (2014). Polydrug Use Typologies and Childhood Maltreatment in a Nationally Representative Survey of Danish Young Adults. Journal of Studies of Alcohol and Drugs, 75(1), 170-178. Doi: 10.15288/jsad.2014.75.170
Murphy, S., Shevlin, M., Armour, C., Elklit, A., & Christoffersen, M. N. (2014). Childhood adversity and PTSD experiences: Testing a Multiple Mediator Model. Traumatology, 20(3), 225-231.
Christoffersen, M., Armour, C., Lasgaard, M., Andersen, T. E., & Elklit, A. (2013). The Prevalence of Four Types of Childhood Maltreatment in Denmark. Clinical Practice & Epidemiology in Mental Health, 9, 149-156.
Elklit, A., Karstoft, K.-I., Feddern, D. & Christoffersen, M. (2013) Predicting criminality from child maltreatment typologies and posttraumatic stress symptoms. European Journal of Psychotraumatology, 4:19825, 1-7. Doi: 10.3402/ejpt.v4i0.19825
Beck, N., Palic, S., Andersen, T.E. & Rønholt, S. (2013). Childhood Abuse Types and Physical Health at the Age of 24: Testing Health Risk Behaviors and Psychological Distress as Mediators. Journal of Aggression, Maltreatment & Trauma, 23, 400-413.
Roenholt, S., Beck, N. N., Karsberg, S. H. & Elklit, A. (2012). Post-Traumatic Stress Symptoms and Childhood Abuse Categories in a National Representative Sample for a Specific Age Group: Associations to Body Mass Index. European Journal of Psychotraumatology, 3: 17188. Doi: 10.3402/ejpt.v3i0.17188
Bramsen, R. H. (2012). Primær forebyggelse af seksuel vold blandt unge i Danmark: Faglig statusrapport i arbejdsgruppen omkring seksuelle overgreb blandt unge. København: Det kriminalpræventive Råd.
Collaboration with the country's shelters, investigating how women feel during and after their stay at the shelters.
Dokkedahl, S., Kirubakaran, R., Bech-Hansen, D., Kristensen, T.R. & Elklit, A. (2022). The Psychological Subtype of Intimate Partner Violence and its Effect on Mental Health: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis. Systematic Reviews. Doi: 10.1186/s13643-022-02025-z.
Dokkedahl, S. B., Kristensen, T. R. & Elklit, A. (2022). Can Women Shelters help reduce symptoms of PTSD and C-PTSD? Trajectories of PTSD Symptom Development Following Partner- and Family Related Violence. Journal of Interpersonal Violence. Doi:10.1177/08862605211066568.
Dokkedahl ,S,. Kristensen, R. T., Murphy, S., & Elklit, A. (2021). The complex trauma of psychological violence: cross-sectional findings from a Cohort of four Danish Women Shelters. European Journal of Psychotraumatology, 12 (1). Doi:10.1080/20008198.2020.1863580.
Dokkedahl, S., Kok, R., Murphy, S., Kristensen, T.R., Bech-Hansen, D., Elklit, A. (2019). The Psychological Subtype of Intimate Partner Violence and its Effect on Mental Health: Protocol for A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis. Systematic Reviews, 8(1), 198-2xx. Doi: 10.1186/s13643-019-1118-1.
Dokkedahl, S. B. & Elklit, A. (2019). Understanding the Mutual Partner Dynamic of Intimate Partner Violence: A Review. Partner Abuse, 10(3). Doi: 10.1891/1946-65188.8.131.528
Dokkedahl, S. B. & Elklit, A. (2018). Undersøgelse af indbyrdes vold. Videnscenter for Psykotraumatologi; Syddansk Universitet. (pp 1-101). (2. udgave, 2019)
Elklit, A., Murphy, S., Jacobsen, C. & Jensen, M. (2017): Clinical and Personality Disorders in a Danish Treatment-Seeking Sample of Intimate Partner Violence. Journal of Offender Therapy and Comparative Criminology, 1(15). Doi: 10.1177/0306624X17741603
Hansen, N. B., Eriksen, S. B. & Elklit, A. (2014). Effects of an intervention program for female victims of intimate partner violence on psychological symptoms and perceived social support. European Journal of Psychotraumatology, 5. Doi: 10.3402/ejpt.v5.24797
Ask Elklit and Sessel Kurdahl were behind the study, which focused on the young people who witnessed a young man stabbing his ex-girlfriend to death. The stabbing took place at Hasseris Gymnasium in March 2006, and the study was conducted six months after the murder. The aim was to investigate the prevalence of Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) in the young witnesses and to identify possible predictors of PTSD. The study involved 320 Danish high school students, 9.5% of whom met the criteria for a PTSD diagnosis seven months after the murder. At the same time, the prevalence of subclinical PTSD was 25%, meaning that approximately 1/3 of the students were suffering from the symptoms six months after the murder. This is associated with an increased risk of the condition becoming chronic in the form of the development of PTSD or a change in personality traits towards either greater anxiety or risk-taking. The study also identified a wide range of factors that influenced students' level of traumatization.
Christiansen, D., Hansen, M. & Elklit, A. (2014). Correlates of coping styles in an adolescent trauma sample. Journal of Child & Adolescent Trauma, 7, 75–85. Doi: 10.1007/s40653-014-0011-2.
Elklit, A. & Kurdahl, S. (2013). The psychological reactions after witnessing a killing in public in a Danish high school. European Journal of Psychotramatology, 4. Doi:10.3402/ejpt.v4i0.19826
Elklit, A. & Kurdahl, S.(2007) Vidne til drab. Psykolog Nyt, 61 (22), 3-7.
Elklit, A., & Kurdahl, S. (2007).De psykosociale følger af knivdrabet på Hasseris Gymnasium. Psykologisk Skriftserie, 28 (3), 1-94.
Led by PhD student Sidsel Karsberg, the project was initiated in 2013 and completed in 2018. Also involved in the project were Rikke Holm Bramsen, Mathias Lasgaard and Ask Elklit. The aim was to investigate a possible association between the prevalence of four types of intimate partner violence among Danish adolescents and childhood victimization. In continuation of this, the project sought to identify risk factors and protective factors. Having been sexually abused was the strongest predictor of experiencing intimate partner violence (either as perpetrator or victim). The other types of child maltreatment were associated to varying degrees with the types of intimate partner violence among adolescents. The study highlights the complex interaction between types of child maltreatment and dating violence among adolescents and calls for further research into this relationship. This could have an important clinical impact, strengthening the ability to develop and target specific preventive interventions against dating violence among adolescents.
Karsberg, S., Charak, R., Lasgaard, M., Bramsen, R. H., Hansen, N. B. & Elklit, A. (2019). Patterns of Childhood Abuse and Dating Violence Victimization Among Early Adolescents From Denmark: A Latent Class Approach. Psychology of Violence. Doi: 10.1037/vio0000231
Karsberg, S., Bramsen, R. H., Lasgaard, M., & Elklit, A. (2018). Prevalence and characteristics of three subtypes of dating violence among Danish seventh-grade students. Scandinavian Journal of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry and Psychology, 6(1), 16-27. Doi: 10.21307/sjcapp-2018-004
Karsberg, S., Bramsen, R. H., Lasgaard, M., & Elklit, A. (2018). The Association Between Distinct Categories of Child Abuse Experiences and Dating Violence in Early Adolescence. Journal of Family Violence. Doi: 10.1007/s10896-018-9979-y
Bramsen, R. H., Lasgaard, M., Koss, M. P., Shevlin, M., Elklit, A. & Banner, J. (2013). Testing a Multiple Mediator Model of the Effect of Childhood Sexual Abuse on Adolescent Sexual Victimization. American Journal of Orthopsychiatry, 83, 47-54. Doi: 10.1111/ajop.12011
Elklit, A. (2023). Fysisk overfald. I Elklit, A., Dokkedahl, S.B. & Christiansen, D.M. (Eds.). Voldsoffer i Danmark. (pp. 45-60). Odense: Syddansk Universitetsforlag.
Charak, R., Dvorak, R. D., Koot, H. M., Elklit, A. & Elhai, J.D. (2015). Unique versus cumulative effect of assault on patterns of Substance-Use in a Nationally Representative Sample of Adolescents. Psychiatry Research, 230(3), 763-769. Doi: 10.1016/j.psychres.2015.11.014
Elklit, A. (2003) Mødet med det onde i et psykotraumatologisk perspektiv. Psyke og Logos, 24 (1), 152-161.
Elklit, A. (red.)(1993) Psykologisk behandling af voldsofre - en symposie-rapport. København: Dansk Psykologisk Forlag. (1. udg. 1992 Psykologisk Institut, Aarhus Universitet).
Elklit, A. (1993) Offer for vold. Aarhus Universitetsforlag.
Elklit, A. (1993) Det kropslige aspekt i traumearbejdet. I A. Elklit (ed.): Psykologisk behandling af voldsofre - en symposierapport. København: Dansk Psykologisk Forlag, 86-93.
Elklit, A. (1993)To ud af tre voldsofre har problemer ét år efter overfaldet. Forskningsnyt fra psykologien, 2 (1-2), 20-21.
Elklit, Anna & Elklit, A. (1993)Ti ud af femten voldsofre er utilfredse med retssystemet. Psykolog Nyt, 47 (16), 564-566.
Hansen, T. P. & Elklit, A. (1993) Self-blame and guilt in victims of violence. Psykologisk Institut, Aarhus Universitet.
Elklit, A. (1991) Rotters sætningsfuldendelsestest i en komparativ undersøgelse af voldsofre. Nordisk Psykologi, 43 (2), 107-121.
Elklit, A. (1989) Behandling af voldsofre. Nordisk Psykologi, 41(1), 75-79.
Elklit, A.(1985) Overfald et feltstudie i overfaldets psykologi. Nordisk Psykologi, 37 (4), 273-284.
Elklit, A.(1985) Violent Assault - a field study of the psychology of violent assault. Psykologisk Institut, Aarhus Universitet (19 s).
Among other things, this project investigated the psychological after-effects and coping strategies of students, staff and relatives in connection with the shooting at Aarhus University.
A podcast in Danish has been made about the shooting, which you can listen to on SoundCloud or Apple Podcast here.
Travers, A., McDonaugh, T. & Elklit, A. (2018).Youth responses to school shooting: A review. Current Psychiatry Reports, 22, 47. Doi: 10.1007/s11920-018-0903-1
Elklit, A.(1996)Skuddramaet i universitetskantinen. En analyse af akutte eftervirkninger og handlemønstre. Nordisk Psykologi, 48 (4), 279-303
Elklit, A. (1994) Hvad sker der med mennesker, der er tæt på et skuddrama? Forskningsnyt fra psykologien, 3(6), 16-20.
Elklit, A.(1994) Skuddramaet på Aarhus Universitet. Psykologisk Skriftserie, 19(3), 1- 42.
This study is the first to provide insight into the specific type of partner stalking where the stalker and victim have a child together. The aim was to gain knowledge about cases where a mother is stalked by the father of one or more of her children, and to investigate how the mothers experienced the stalking and contact with social authorities. The research project also examines how children are affected by secondary stalking.
So far, it has been found that 22% of the children in the age group 0-6 years met a PTSD diagnosis, where 85% of the 7-11 year olds and 58% of the 12-19 year olds met a PTSD diagnosis. Recent publications from the research project showed a higher prevalence of harassing rather than violent stalking and that children are typically victims of this as well. The study also showed that when the mothers sought professional help, they were often not recognized as victims of stalking.
Løkkegaard, S.S., Hansen, N.B., Wolf, N.M. & Elklit, A. (2019) When Daddy stalks Mommy: Experiences of Intimate Partner Stalking and Involvement of Social and Legal Authorities When Stalker and Victim Have Children Together. Violence Against Women, 1-19. Doi: 10.1177/1077801219826738
Elklit, A., Vangsgaard, L.A.G., Olsen, A.S.W. & Ali, S.A. (2019) Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) Symptoms in Secondary Stalked Children of Danish Stalking survivors – A Pilot Study. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 16, 725. Doi: 10.3390/ijerph16050725
Wolf, N. M., Schandorph, S., & Elklit, A. (2018) Psychological Distress and Attachment Insecurity of Stalked Mothers. Journal of Interpersonal Violence. Doi: 10.1177/0886260518819883
Olsen, A.S., Vansgård, L. & Elklit, A. (2017): Når far stalker mor – hvordan børn påvirkes af stalking. Odense: Videnscenter for Psykotraumatologi (1-43).
Schandorph, S. & Elklit, A. (2013). Med barnet som gidsel – stalking af mødre. Odense: Videnscenter for Psykotraumatologi (1-75).
"Reported rape cases part 1 - A description of flow and dropout in reported rape cases at East Jutland Police" (translated from Danish) was published in 2015 and is based on data from 2008-2010. It is the first part of a larger report. In 2012, the report led to the initiation of a new PhD project, the second part of the report, which was expected to be completed in 2017. The first part was prepared by Nina Beck Hansen, Louise Hjort Nielsen, Rikke Holm Bramsen, Ole Ingemann-Hansen & Ask Elklit.
The report describes the judicial process from report to conclusion, including flow and dropout, in Danish sexual offence cases at the East Jutland Police in the period 1 January 2008 - 31 December 2010. During 2008, 2009 and 2010, 296 reported cases were registered. The report showed that the perpetrator was identified in 62.7% of the cases and that the perpetrator was charged in 38.3% of the cases. 46.3% of the charged perpetrators were prosecuted, which represented 17.7% of the total cases. Furthermore, approximately every seventh report ended in a conviction for rape. Most cases were closed in the initial phase of the case by the police, with 61.7% of cases being dismissed.
In addition, 53.7% of cases with charges were dismissed without further proceedings by the prosecution. In 95.4% of cases, the victim was female, the average age was 23 years (range 12-68 years) and in 45.7% of cases the victim was under the influence of alcohol. In 21.6% of cases, the victim reported previous traumatic experiences such as abuse, violence and neglect. In cases where the offender's nationality was known, 79.1% had Danish citizenship and in all but one case the offender was male. The average age of the perpetrators was 29 years (range 12-61 years).
For cases that were closed by the police, the average time from report to case closure was approximately two months.
In the full report, you can read more about the victim's relationship to the offender, influence, ethnicity and nationality, psychological and psychiatric difficulties, etc.
Beck Hansen, N., Ravn, S. L. & Hansen, M. (2020) Recorded Withdrawal from The Police Investigation Among Victims of Rape: A Mixed Method Approach to Identifying Case Characteristics and Police Documented Reasons. Nordic Psychology. DOI: 10.1080/19012276.2020.1862698
Beck Hansen, N., Hansen, M., Campbell, R., Elklit, A., Hansen, O. I. & Bramsen, R. H. (2018). Are Rape Cases Closed because of Rape Stereotypes? Results from a Danish Police District. Nordic Psychology. Doi: 10.1080/19012276.2018.1470552
Hansen, N.B, Hansen, M., Nielsen, L.H., Bramsen, R.H., Elklit, A. & Campbell, R. (2017): Reported rape crimes: Are victims’ acute psychological distress and perceived social support associated with police case decision and victim unwillingness to participate in the investigation? Violence against Women. Doi: 10.1177/1077801217710002
Beck Hansen, N., Nielsen, L. H., Bramsen, R. H., Hansen, O. I., & Elklit, A. (2016). Anmeldt voldtægt. Faktorer relateret til sagshenlæggelse i anmeldte voldtægtssager ved Østjyllands Politi. Odense: Syddansk Universitet.
Hansen, N.B., Nielsen, L.H., Bramsen, R.H., Ingemann-Hansen, O. & Elklit, A. (2015) Attrition in Danish rape reported crimes. Journal of Police and Criminal Psychology, 30, 221-228. Doi 10.1007/s00127-014-0819-y
Beck Hansen, N., Nielsen, L. H., Bramsen, R. H., Hansen, O. I., & Elklit, A. (2014). Anmeldte voldtægtssager: En beskrivelse af flow og frafald i anmeldte voldtægtssager ved Østjyllands Politi. Odense: Syddansk Universitet. Videnscenter for Psykotraumatologi.
Hansen, N. B., Nielsen, L. H., Bramsen, R., Ingemann-Hansen, O. & Elklit, A. (2014). Attrition in Danish rape reported crimes. Journal of Police and Criminal Psychology, 30(4), 221-228. Doi 10.1007/s11896-014-9159-9
Banzon, T. & Elklit, A. (2021). Effekten af gruppebehandling til voldtægtsofre. Odense: Videnscenter for Psykotraumatologi, SDU. (1-30).
Jørgensen, L. K., & Elklit, A. (2022) PTSD og Kompleks PTSD blandt støttesøgende stalkingudsatte i Danmark. Odense: Videnscenter for Psykotraumatologi, Syddansk Universitet.
McDonagh, T., Travers, Á., Murphy, S., & Elklit, A. (2021). Assessing Personality Pathology Response Sets in Perpetrators of Intimate Partner Violence. Journal of Interpersonal Violence. Doi: 10.1177/08862605211001482
- Elklit, A., Dokkedahl, S.B. & Christiansen, D.M. (Eds.).(2023). Voldsoffer i Danmark. Odense: Syddansk Universitetsforlag
"Voldsoffer i Danmark" (Translation: Victims of Violence in Denmark) is written for professionals who may encounter violence and its victims in the course of their work. The book focuses on a wide range of questions that are central to understanding violence: What forms of violence exist? What processes are involved - physiological, psychological and social? What are the possible consequences of violence? What are the challenges of working closely with victims of violence? How can professionals protect themselves? And what role can colleagues and the workplace play?
The book can be found here. Only available in Danish.
Elklit, A. & Brink, O. (2004) found that 22% of victims of physical assault met the diagnostic criteria for PTSD. The first two articles describe the experience of an assault and its consequences. The next two articles examine a large group of victims of violence in the emergency room.
Elklit, A. & Brink, O. (2004). Acute stress disorder as a predictor of posttraumatic stress disorder in physical assault victims. Journal of Interpersonal Violence, 19, (6), 709-726.
Elklit, A.& Brink, O. (2003). Acute Stress Disorder in Physical Assault Victims Visiting a Danish Emergency Ward. Violence and Victims, 18 (4), 461-472.
Find our full overview of rape victim surveys here:
Full overview of publications related to victims of rape
Describes the structure and working model of the Aarhus Centre for an international audience. The sixteen Dutch centers for rape victims are based on the Aarhus model.
Bramsen, R. H., Elklit, A. & Nielsen, L. H. (2009). A Danish Model for Treating Rape Victims – A Multidisciplinary Public Approach. The Journal of Aggression, Maltreatment, and Trauma, 18, 886-905.
Concludes that current services for rape victims are inadequate. It proposes the establishment of a public, comprehensive and free support and treatment programme with the following elements: medical examination and treatment, psychosocial support and treatment, legal counselling and comfortable surroundings with the possibility of meals, showers and accommodation. It is unclear whether cognitive processing therapy is appropriate in the acute phase immediately after a rape.
Hallmann, H. (1997). Tilbydes voldtægtsofre i Danmark en psykologisk hensigtsmæssig behandling. Psykologisk Skriftserie, 22(1), 1-113.
Presentation of the Rape Center in Aarhus.
Ingemann-Hansen. O. (2006) The Western Danish Center for Prevention, Treatment and Research of Sexual Assault. Scandinavian Journal of Forensic Science, 12(1), 25-29.
Haugen, T., Halvorsen, J. Ø., Friborg, O., Schei, B., Mork, P. J., Simpson, M. R., Mikkelsen, G., Elklit, A., Rothbaum, B., Hagemann, C. (2023). Modified prolonged exposure therapy as an Early Intervention after Rape to prevent posttraumatic stress disorder (The EIR-study): Study protocol for a randomized multicenter controlled clinical superiority trial. Trials, 24:126. Doi: 10.1186/s13063-023-07147-w
Hansen, N. B. & Hansen, M. (2021). Sekundær viktimisering i voldtægtssager - det andet overgreb. I T. Søberg, T. Baumbach, & L. K. Minke (red.), Voldtægtssager - Retssystemets akilleshæl: Teori og praksis Djøf Forlag.
Hansen, N. B. & Hansen, M. (2021).Psykiske og fysiske reaktioner under og efter et seksuelt overgreb.. I T. Søberg, T. Baumbach, & L. K. Minke (red.), Voldtægtssager - Retssystemets akilleshæl: Teori og praksis Djøf Forlag.
Elklit, A., Andersen, L. E. & Spindler, H. (2021). Psykiske følger efter voldtægt. En traumepsykologisk materialesamling. Oral presentation at Netværk for Personfarlig Kriminalitet, March 15.
A review and discussion of existing research on the sequelae of rape, illustrating a wide variety of difficulties encountered by rape victims. A picture is drawn of how we can understand these difficulties in relation to a treatment approach, emphasizing a broad-based methodological approach on the part of the therapist.
Nielsen, L. (2001). Voldtægt – en udfordring for behandlere. Århus: Center for Voldtægtsofre. (s. 1-124)
Reviews principles of working practices for examining and interviewing victims of rape across different professional groups including police, doctors, psychologists, nurses and lawyers.
Brink, O. (Red.) (2000). Håndbog for fagpersoner i kontakt med voldtægtsofre. Århus: Center for Voldtægtsofre.
This 2014 survey surveyed 563 victims of rape who had been in contact with the rape centre in Aarhus between 2002 and 2013. Participants completed a questionnaire three times; one month after the offence, three months after the offence and six months after the offence. The results showed that satisfaction with the support and help received at the rape centre from doctors, nurses and psychologists was high, while there was greater dissatisfaction with the treatment from the police and social authorities.
Nielsen, L. H., Hansen, N. B. & Elklit, A. (2014). Service utilization and satisfaction with service providers in victims of rape and sexual assault. US-China Law Review, 11(9), 1176-1191
This study examined 142 victims of rape's experience of their treatment at the rape centre in Aarhus. The study concluded that there was a high degree of overall satisfaction with the process, and that satisfaction with the various services within medical treatment, contact with the police and legal counselling and psychological treatment varied between 79% and 97%. The study also found some degree of secondary victimizing behaviour among all three professional groups, but to a lesser degree than previously found in similar studies from the US.
Nielsen, L.H., Campbell, R., Bramsen, R.H, Elklit, A., Ingemann-Hansen, O., & Hansen, M. (submitted). Victims of rape and sexual assault: Secondary victimization in a public multidisciplinary support system.
Examining the temporal relationships of PTSD symptoms, and thus how the development and presence of some symptoms influence and are influenced by the development of other symptoms. We found weak relationships between symptom groups, with the strongest relationship being between avoidance behaviour and later development of emotional numbing.
Hyland, P., Shevlin, M., Hansen, M., Vallieres, F., Murphy, J., & Elklit, A. (2016). The temporal relations of PTSD symptoms among treatment-seeking victims of sexual assault? A longitudinal study. Journal of Loss & Trauma, 21(6). 492-506. Doi: 10.1080/15325024.2015.1117933
Investigates the dimensional structure of acute stress disorder (ASD). Results suggest that ASD is best described by 4 quantitatively and qualitatively distinct subgroups in this participant population. Previous studies have assumed that ASD is dimensional, which may help explain the limited success of ASD in predicting subsequent development of PTSD.
Shevlin, M., Hyland, P. & Elklit, A. (2014): Different Profiles of Acute Stress Disorder Differentially Predict Posttraumatic Stress Disorder in a Large Sample of Female Victims of Sexual Trauma. Psychological Assessment, 26(4), 1155-1161. Doi: 10.1037/a0037272
Based on victims of bank robbery and rape, four different models of the latent structure of Acute Stress Disorder (ASD) are examined. It was found that the ASD structure is best framed by a five-factor structure that categorises elements of dysphoric or anxious vigilance/increased stress ("arousal") into two different factors. The finding should be seen as a supplement to the debate on how ASD is best conceptualised in DSM-5.
Hansen, M., Armour, C. & Elklit, A. (2012). Assessing a Dysphoric Arousal model of Acute Stress Disorder Symptoms in a Clinical Sample of Rape and Bank Robbery Victims. European Journal of Psychotraumatology, 3(1): 18201. Doi: 10.3402/ejpt.v3i0.18201.
Paper presentation at the 2nd International Conference on the Survivors of Rape, University Medical Center Utrecht, The Netherlands, 30th Sept - 2nd October, 2010.
Concludes that acute rape survivors are a neglected group in terms of research and treatment.
Jensen, M. S., Elklit, A., Jensen, A. H. & Bak, R. S. (2010). Acute Rape Victims – a Neglected Trauma Population?
Discusses the criterion thresholds for the two diagnoses, acute stress disorder and PTSD. 59% had ASD and 35% had PTSD after three months if the most restrictive criteria were used. The focus of the article is how to best predict PTSD two weeks after the rape: The article concludes that ASD is not sufficient to achieve a high predictive value.
Elklit, A. & Christiansen, D. (2010) ASD and PTSD in rape victims. Journal of Interpersonal Violence, 25(8), 1470-1488. Doi: 10.1177/0886260509354587.
Acute stress disorder (ASD) is more than just an increase in overall stress levels in the aftermath of rape. Dissociation is uniquely related to ASD, while relational issues are uniquely associated with an increase in overall stress levels.
Elklit, A., Due, L. & Christiansen, D. M. (2009). Predictors of acute stress symptoms in rape victims. Traumatology, 15(2), 38-45.
An early study based on 52 rape victims with figures for ASD (72%) and PTSD (56%).
Elklit, A., Magnusdóttir, M., & Knudsen, M. (2003). Mod kvindens vilje – kvinder, der bliver voldtaget, klarer sig meget forskelligt efterfølgende. En undersøgelse gennemført på Center for voldtægtsofre i Århus belyser forskellene. PsykologNyt. 57(21), 3-11.
Examines rape victims up to five years after the rape and finds that 45% still have PTSD five years later and that a completed rape is an important predictor of PTSD.
Ingemann-Hansen, O.I., Elklit, A., Sabroe, S., Vesterby, A., & Brink, O. (2008). Chronic posttraumatic stress in victims of sexual violence. Scandinavian Journal of Forensic Science, 14(2), 54-58.
Bach, M. H., Hansen, N.B., Ahrens, C. R., & Hansen, M. (2021). Underserved survivors of sexual assault: a systematic scoping review. European journal of psychotraumatology, 12(1), 1895516. Doi: 10.1080/20008198.2021.1895516
Bach, M. H., Hansen, N.B., & Hansen, M. (2021). What Characterizes Vulnerability? Interdisciplinary Perspectives on Service Provision for Survivors of Sexual Assault. Journal of Interpersonal Violence, Doi: 10.1177/08862605211006358. PMID: 33866834.
Examines the change in outlook on life for female victims of rape after an assault and the impact on the development of PTSD. Most women showed either an unchanged or a negative outlook on life after the assault. Those women who reported a negative outlook 3 months after the assault showed higher levels of PTSD 6 months after the assault.
Hansen, N. B., Hansen, M., Nielsen, L. H. & Elklit, A. (2016). Positive or negative change in Outlook on life following sexual assualt and association to PTSD severity. Sexual and Relationship Therapy, 32(1), 36-45. Doi: 10.1080/14681994.2016.1169266
Four separate groups of PTSD were found; Baseline, moderate PTSD, severe PTSD and dissociative PTSD. The dissociative PTSD group comprised 13.1% of those studied and had a significantly higher mean score when measuring depression, anxiety, hostility and sleep problems.
Armour, C., Elklit, A., Lauterbach, D., & Elhai, J. D. (2014). The DSM-5 dissociative-PTSD subtype: Can levels of depression, anxiety, hostility, and sleeping difficulties differentiate between dissociative-PTSD and PTSD in rape victims? Journal of Anxiety Disorders, 28, 418–426. Doi: 10.1016/j.janxdis.2013.12.008
45% of women had PTSD after 6 months and 25% had subclinical PTSD (lacking a symptom for diagnosis). Past trauma and negative affectivity explained 1/3 of the PTSD variation (=vulnerability factors).
Elklit, A. & Christiansen, D. (2013). Risk factors for PTSD in female help-seeking victims of sexual assault. Violence and Victims, 28, 552-568. Doi: org/10.1891/0886-6708.09-135
The risk of an anxiety diagnosis increases 6x after a rape, even when controlling for a 10x increased risk before the rape. The same is not true for depression diagnoses.
Elklit, A. & Shevlin, M. (2013) Sexual Victimization and Anxiety and Mood Disorders: A Case Control Study Based on the Danish Registry System. Irish Journal of Psychological Medicine, 30(2), 119-124. Doi:10.1017/ipm.2013.9
The rate of psychosis diagnoses is dramatically higher (19x) before the rape than in a matched control group and when controlling for this, the rate is 10x higher after the rape.
Elklit, A. & Shevlin, M. (2011). Female Sexual Victimization Predicts Psychosis: A Case-Control Study Based on the Danish Registry System. Schizophrenia Bulletin. 37, 1305-1310. Doi:10.1093/schbul/sbq048.
Is there a family structure that is particularly vulnerable to rape? Single people with children living at home are more than three times more likely to be raped than married people with children. Married and cohabiting couples experience far fewer rapes.
Elklit, A. & Shevlin, M. (2010). Family structure as a risk factor for sexual victimization. Archives of Sexual Behavior, 39, 1375-1379. Doi: 10.1007/s10508-009-9555-x.
Victims of rape move more than a matched control group after a rape; single people move more than twice as much as the control group.
Elklit, A. & Shevlin, M. (2009). Sexual victimization as a risk factor for residential instability. Public Health, 123, 502-505,
The number of doctor visits is 50% higher in victims of rape before the rape than a matched control group and increases further in the year after the rape.
Elklit, A. & Shevlin, M. (2010). General Practice Utilization after Sexual Victimisation: A Case Control Study. Violence against Women, 16(3), 280-290.
Examines 107 close relatives and finds that 25% of them had PTSD as a result of the rape. The degree of PTSD was dependent on whether the rape had just happened, high levels of support provided to the victim, thoughts of being able to prevent the rape, lack of support received from others and a sense of having been let down by others. They also experience a number of problems in their relationship with the victim of rape in the aftermath of the assault.
Christiansen, D., Bak, R. & Elklit, A. (2012). Secondary victims of rape. Violence and Victims, 27(2), 246-262, 2012. Doi: 10.1891/0886-6708.27.2.246
The book's findings are summarised in the article above.
Bak, Rikke (2007). Voldtægts ofres nære. Århus: Center for Voldtægtsofre.
The article identifies two developmental pathways after a rape based on 3 measurement time points (<1, 3 and 6 months) - a stable one comprising 35% and one with a large decline in symptoms (65%). Acute stress disorder is a predictor for the group with symptom decline. Social support surprisingly plays no measurable role.
Armour, C., Shevlin, M., Elklit, A. & Mroczek, D. (2011) A Latent Growth Mixture Modelling Approach to PTSD Symptoms in Rape Victims. Traumatology, 18(1), 20-28. doi: 10.1177/1534765610395627.
20% of victims of rape had complex PTSD - a diagnosis that will be part of ICD-11. The analysis shows that complex PTSD (which also includes PTSD), "pure" PTSD and low symptom levels can be distinguished in three different trauma groups.
Elklit, A., Hyland, P. & Shevlin, M. (2014). Evidence of symptom profiles consistent with posttraumatic stress disorder and complex posttraumatic stress disorder in different trauma samples. European Journal of Psychotraumatology, 5: 24221. Doi: 10.3402/ejpt.v5.24221
Victims of rape were characterized by the fact that their trauma symptoms can be explained by a numbing model as much as by a dysphoria model. This is in contrast to three other groups: refugees, whiplash sufferers, and parents who had lost an infant. The first two were characterized by a high degree of dysphoria and the last by a high degree of numbing. The results suggest that in the future, PTSD should be viewed as having a different structure depending on which trauma group you belong to.
Shevlin, M. & Elklit, A. (2013). The Latent Structure of PTSD: Different Models or Different Populations? Journal of Abnormal Psychology, 121, 610-615.
Relatively fewer victims of rape in rural municipalities than in urban municipalities who seek help, which indicates that the distance to a centre has an impact on seeking help.
Nielsen, L.H. & Elklit, A. (2008). Rural Communities: No Rapes or no Help? Poster at the 1st International Conference on Survivors of Rape, Aarhus, Denmark, 14-15, November, 2008. Abstract Book, 53.
The study shows that positive attitudes towards rape victims are associated with being female, having a high level of education and having experienced traumatic events yoursel
Elklit, A. (2002) Attitudes Towards Rape Victims. Journal of Scandinavian Studies in Criminology and Crime Prevention, 3(1), 73-83.
Studies with victims of rape who have participated in scientific research following an assault and their perceptions of negative and positive consequences of their participation. The majority of participants perceived their participation as a positive experience with no significant negative physiological or psychological consequences.
Nielsen, L. H., Hansen, M., Elklit, A. & Bramsen, R. H. (2016). Sexual Assault Victims Participating in Research: Causing Harm When Trying to Help? Archives of Psychiatric Nursing, 30, 412-417. Doi: 10.1016/j.apnu.2016.01.0170883-9417
This book is written for victims of rape and has been distributed at rape centres in Denmark. It explains a number of facts about rape and typical reactions during and after an assault that are relevant for victims as well as their relatives.
Parding, S., Elklit, A. (2009). Et nej er et nej: Tiden efter et overgreb. Århus: Århus Universitetshospital, Center for Voldtægtsofre
This article describes recommended procedures and the best practices for conducting forensic examinations of victims of rape and related issues. Among other things, the chapter emphasizes the need for the examination to be performed by competent forensic pathologists with good communication skills and background knowledge of the psychological after-effects of rape. In addition, the chapter also recommends the use of standardized protocols for collecting information to perform the examination.
Ingemann-Hansen, O., & Charles, A (2012). Forensic medical examination of adolescent and adult victims of sexual violence. Best Practice & Research: Clinical Obstetrics & Gynaecology, 27(1), 91-102. Doi:10.1016/j.bpobgyn.2012.08.014
This study examined the impact of evidence from forensic medical examinations of victims of rape on the legal outcomes and sentencing in reported rape cases. The study included rape cases reported in Aarhus between November 1999 and December 2004. The study showed that forensic findings in the form of lesions and semen did not have a significant effect on the outcome of the conviction in a later trial. However, the offender's use of severe coercion, such as weapons or strangulation, did have an effect on the outcome of the conviction. The article calls for an improvement in forensic examination procedures for the future.
Ingemann-Hansen, O., Brink, O., Sabroe, S., Sørensen, V., & Charles, A. V. (2008). Legal aspects of sexual violence—Does forensic evidence make a difference? Forensic Science International, 180(2), 98-104. Doi:10.1016/j.forsciint.2008.07.009
The Danish version of the article above.
Ingemann-Hansen, O., Brink, O., Sabroe, S., Sørensen, V., & Charles, A. V. (2009). Retsligt udfald af voldtægtssager - har de retsmedicinske fund en betydning? Nordisk Tidsskrift for Kriminalvidenskab, 11, 277-286
The purpose of this retrospective study was to describe sexual violence in a geographically defined area, including an estimation of the extent of sexual violence, the circumstances of the assaults, forensic findings, and risk factors that may increase the risk of a completed and more physically violent rape. The study is based on a large data collection of rape cases reported to the police and the Centre for Rape Victims in and around Aarhus between 1999 and 2004. The results showed that 34% of rape cases were never reported to the police and that the offender was known to the victim in most of the cases. Knowledge of the perpetrator increased the risk of completion of the rape and young victims, as well as victims who had consumed alcohol, were at greater risk of being assaulted in a public space.
Ingemann-Hansen, O., Sabroe, S., Brink, O., Knudsen, M., & Charles, A. V (2008). Characteristics of victims and assaults of sexual violence – improving inquiries and prevention. Journal of Forensic and Legal Medicine, 16(4), 182-188. Doi:10.1016/j.jflm.2008.07.004
Examines the impact of the offender's characteristics on the legal outcomes of rape trials. The results showed that prior sexual violence charges increase the likelihood that a suspected perpetrator will be charged and convicted, while none of the other variables examined had a significant effect.
Nielsen, L. H., Hansen, M., & Ingemann-Hansen, O. (2018). Predicting charges and convictions for rape suspects in Denmark: Characteristics associated with the notion of the ‘credible criminal’. Journal of Scandinavian Studies in Criminology and Crime Prevention, 1-16. Doi:10.1080/14043858.2018.1526469
This study aimed to investigate the formal experiences and challenges of help-seeking among survivors of sexual assault. The study utilised a qualitative methodology in the form of interviews with five participants who have experienced sexual assault and experienced challenges in seeking help in Denmark. This approach was used to capture the participant group's lived experiences of help-seeking in order to broaden the understanding of sexual assault and generate knowledge that can be used to improve service provision for a wider group of survivors. The interviews were analysed using Interpretive Phenomenological Analysis (IPA), from which five themes emerged: 1) "Sexual assault as lived experience", 2) "Survivors' needs", 3) "Access to sexual assault services", 4) "Therapies at sexual assault centres" and 5) "The legal system".
Theme 1 clarified how the experience of sexual assault and its sequelae are deeply personal and bound by their context. Themes 2-5 show how such personal and contextual aspects influence the use of and need for services.
The study demonstrates the need for important steps that can be taken now to improve services for survivors who experience challenges in seeking help.
Bach, M. H., Hansen, N. B., Ahrens, C. & Hansen, M. (2022). Giving voice: experiences and needs of sexual assault survivors facing multiple adversities, Nordic Psychology, Doi: 10.1080/19012276.2022.2141838.