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Women Health. 2002;35(2-3):41-54.

Domestic violence in later life: an overview for health care providers.

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National Clearinghouse on Abuse in Later Life, Wisconsin Coalition Against Domestic Violence, Madison 53703-3041, USA.


Domestic violence is a significant problem that adversely affects the health and safety of millions of women throughout their life-span. Most cases of what is considered elder abuse occurs at home rather than in institutions, and the evidence suggests that only 1 in 5 cases are recognized. Frequently the perpetrator is a spouse, adult child, or other family member. Given the demographics of aging women and their longer life expectancies, clinicians are increasingly likely to see patients whose injuries or poor health status are caused or affected by abusive relationships. Improving the ability of physicians to identify domestic violence is an important skill needed for establishing comprehensive intervention and prevention efforts. In addition to conducting universal screening of all female patients, using clinical and behavioral indicators is a critical component of the intervention.

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