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Psychiatr Serv. 1997 Sep;48(9):1186-90.

A hospital-based domestic violence group.

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  • 1Department of Psychiatry, Denver Health Medical Center, University of Colorado Health Sciences Center 80220, USA.



This study of a public-hospital-based drop-in group for women who were victims of domestic violence sought to determine whether the group attracted clients from the target population of patients in the medical system, to identify characteristics of the battered women attending the group, and to examine whether the group shared the same characteristics as battered women who were evaluated in other contexts within the medical system.


Fifty-nine clients attending a domestic violence group at an urban public hospital completed questionnaires on referral sources, demographic characteristics, needs, and satisfaction. Included for comparison were clinical data on referral sources and demographic characteristics for 224 battered women evaluated by clinical social workers at the hospital and affiliated clinics.


Referral patterns differed for the two groups: the majority of the social work cases were referred from the emergency room, and the majority of the referrals to the domestic violence group were from outside agencies, informal sources, and the hospital's inpatient units. A greater proportion of women attending the group were white, divorced or separated, and no longer living with their partners. Among the social work cases, the women were more likely to be ethnic minorities, single, and still living with their partners.


The domestic violence group intervention attracted a different subgroup of battered women than did the social work intervention, which was likely due to differences in readiness to initiate change and to cultural barriers to group participation.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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