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Important Agencies and Conclusion

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Domestic violence affects all social classes and ethnic groups (Reference1). However there is an association with young age, marital separation, young children, financial pressures, drug/alcohol abuse and disability/ill health (Reference2).

In a study that screened 892 women for domestic violence in pregnancy, the following were associated with a history of domestic violence within the last 12 months: late booking, false labour, significant backaches, headaches, hyperemesis (Reference3). In addition, vague unresolved admissions to the antenatal ward were associated with domestic violence in the current pregnancy. Another study examined the incidence of preterm labour and found this to be 4.1 times greater (incidence 17%) in those who experienced severe violence as compared to those who experienced no maternal abuse during pregnancy (Reference4)

Many child protection cases have associated domestic violence.

Between 5% and 11% of women who present acutely to the accident and emergency do so as a result of domestic violence (Reference5,Reference6,Reference7). They are more likely to be pregnant, present with multiple injuries including fractures, abdominal injuries, injuries to the arm and face, have delayed presentation, lost consciousness or have been referred by a general practitioner than those who have been injured through other means (Reference8). They may initially state that their injury was due to a fall down the stairs.


1. British Medical Association (1998) Domestic Violence: a health care issue: London; BMA 

2. Home Office (1999). Domestic Violence: Findings from a new British Crime Survey self-completion questionnaire.

3. Mezey G, Bacchus L, Haworth A, Bewley S. 2000. An exploration of the prevalence, nature and effect of domestic violence in pregnancy. ESRC study.

4. Shumway J, O’Campo P, Gielen A, Witter FR, Khouzami AN, Blakemore KJ. Preterm labor, placental abruption, and premature rupture of membranes in relation to maternal violence or verbal abuse. Journal of Maternal-Fetal Medicine 1999; 8(3): 76-80, Abstract

5. Hayden SR, Barton ED, Hayden M. Domestic violence in the emergency department: how do women prefer to disclose and discuss the issues? J Emerg Med 1997; 15:447-51, Abstract

6. Abbot J, Johnson R, Koziol-McLain J et al. Domestic violence against women; incidence and prevalence in the accident and emergency department population. JAMA 1995; 273: 1763-7, Abstract

7. Goldberg WG, Tomlanovich MC. Domestic violence victims in the emergency department : new findings. JAMA 1984; 23: 855-8, Abstract

8. Spedding RL, McWilliams M, McNicholl BP, Dearden CH. Markers for domestic violence in women. J Accid Emerg Med 1999; 16:400-402, Abstract

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