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Med J Aust. 2000 Oct 2;173(7):363-7.

Domestic violence in Australia: definition, prevalence and nature of presentation in clinical practice.

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  • 1Department of General Practice and Public Health, University of Melbourne, VIC.


Domestic violence is a complex pattern of behaviours that may include, in addition to physical acts of violence, sexual abuse and emotional abuse. Women experience domestic violence at far greater rates than men do, and women and children often live in fear as a result of the abuse that is used by men to maintain control over their partners. Domestic violence is a major public health problem and is very common in women attending clinical practice. Women present most commonly with a range of chronic symptoms to unsuspecting general practitioners, emergency department doctors or medical specialists. Women who have experienced partner abuse want to be asked about it and are more likely to disclose if asked in an empathic, non-judgemental way. Doctors can make a difference.

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