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Screening for domestic violence among adult women in the United States.

  • Author(s): Klap, Ruth
  • Tang, Lingqi
  • Wells, Kenneth
  • Starks, Sarah L
  • Rodriguez, Michael
  • et al.
Abstract

Background

Domestic violence is a problem frequently encountered in health care settings and a risk factor for physical and mental health problems.

Objective

To provide nationally representative estimates of rates of domestic violence screening among women, to identify predictors of screening, and to describe settings where women are screened.

Design and participants

We examined 4,821 women over the age of 18 from the second wave of Healthcare for Communities, a nationally representative household telephone survey conducted in 2000-2001.

Measurements

Self-reports concerning whether the respondent was ever asked about domestic or family violence by any health care provider.

Results

Only 7% (95% CI, 6%-8%) of women reported they were ever asked about domestic violence or family violence by a health care professional. Of women who were asked about abuse, nearly half (46%) were asked in a primary care setting, and 24% were asked in a specialty mental health setting. Women with risk factors for domestic violence were more likely to report being asked about it by a health care professional, but rates were still low.

Conclusions

Self-reported rates of screening for domestic violence are low even among women at higher risk for abuse. These findings reinforce the importance of developing training and raising awareness of domestic violence and its health implications. This is especially true in primary care and mental health specialty settings.

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