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Pediatr Emerg Care. 2005 Feb;21(2):79-83.

Screening for intimate-partner violence in the pediatric emergency department.

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1
Division of Pediatric Emergency Medicine, Northwestern University's Feinberg School of Medicine, Chicago, IL, USA.

Abstract

OBJECTIVE:

The aims of this study were to determine the annual prevalence of intimate-partner violence (IPV) in an urban pediatric emergency department (ED) among mothers seeking care for their children, to examine the associations between IPV and family socioeconomic characteristics, triage time, and child's diagnosis, and to describe perceptions and preferences for IPV screening.

METHODS:

A confidential 15-item survey was completed by 451 women caretakers who were unaccompanied by a male partner in an urban pediatric ED associated with a children's hospital. Women were enrolled during 4-hour time blocks selected to represent ED use patterns during June and July 2002. Survey questions addressed experiences of IPV (physical or sexual violence and perception of safety) in the preceding year and preferences for IPV screening. We also collected information about the women's socioeconomic characteristics and the child's triage time and diagnosis.

RESULTS:

Fifty women reported IPV, an annual prevalence of 11%. Compared with white women, the relative risk of IPV among black women was 1.1 (95% confidence interval [CI], 1.0-1.2) and among Hispanic women was 1.1 (95% CI, 1.0-1.2). Compared with women who completed college, the relative risk of women who had not completed high school was 5.8 (95% CI, 2.0-26.4). We observed no association with poverty. Women who reported IPV more often sought care for their child in the evening (4-12 pm, chi2, P < 0.01); there was no association with the child's diagnosis. Most (75%) stated that IPV screening in the pediatric ED was appropriate.

CONCLUSIONS:

The annual prevalence of IPV in a pediatric ED is 11%. As socioeconomic and visit characteristics are imprecise in identifying women at risk, screening should include all women. Screening for IPV in the pediatric ED is acceptable to women.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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