Objective: The purpose of this study was to assess medical students’ attitudes towards female victims of interpersonal violence and to examine associations between these attitudes and gender, personally knowing a victim, and knowledge of interpersonal violence issues. Methods: One hundred and two students completed a survey adapted from established attitudinal scales that included an assessment of knowledge of interpersonal violence. Multivariate analyses were conducted using attitude scores as the dependent variables, gender and personally knowing a victim as independent variables, and knowledge of interpersonal violence as a covariate. Results: Both gender and personally knowing a victim had significant associations with attitudes towards victims of violence. Women were found to have lower blaming scores for victims of both rape and domestic violence. With regard to rape victim blaming, personally knowing a victim of interpersonal violence reduced scores for both men and women. However, for domestic violence victim blaming, knowing a victim reduced scores for women only. No significant association was found between knowledge of interpersonal violence and attitudes towards victims of violence. Conclusions: Clinical training that focuses on information alone is unlikely to influence medical student attitudes towards victims of interpersonal violence. Female gender and personally knowing a victim positively influence attitudes towards victims of violence, however the impact of these variables may be specific to the type of violence. Training programs on interpersonal violence must take into account attitudinal differences due to student gender and prior experiences with victims of violence.

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