Neighborhood-Level Predictors of Sexual Violence Across Intimate Partner and Non-Intimate Partner Relationships: A Case–Control Study

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Ample research explores individual factors associated with sexual violence, yet individual, dyadic, and environmental influences on intimate partner sexual violence (IPSV) occurring in the larger context of non-intimate partner violence (NIPSV) remain relatively unexplored. The current study aimed to determine the extent to which county-level indicators in combination with individual and dyadic factors are associated with sexual violence across relationship types. Reported IPSV and NIPSV cases were obtained from the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation’s (TBI) online incident-based reporting system. County-level variables indicative of neighborhood physical disorder, violent crime, income inequality, firearm prevalence, and community alcohol use patterns were retrieved from the online resource County Health Rankings and Roadmaps. Using a nested case–control design, we determined significant sexual violence risk within younger cohorts and across relationship types, finding three significant county-level factors: 1) income inequality, 2) rate of firearm fatalities, and 3) percentage of female residents. Suggested prevention and intervention efforts include targeting younger age groups for IPSV and NIPSV education, developing resources for a range of relational partners, improving legal access and law enforcement training for reporting, and continued examination of the role of firearms.