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Arch Kriminol. 2007 Jan-Feb;219(1-2):23-32.

[A forensic medicine perspective on recurring episodes of intimate partner violence].

[Article in German]

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Institut für Rechtsmedizin des Universitäitsklinikums Hamburg-Eppendorf.


During a three year period, 418 victims of intimate partner violence (IPV) were examined and their injuries documented at the Center for Victims of Violence (CVV) in Hamburg, Germany. All victims were questioned if their acute injuries were attributable to recurring acts of violence by the same intimate partner. The victims' experiences with recurring IPV were analyzed and associated risk factors as well as findings of acute physical injuries were integrated into the assesment. Overall, women were significantly more often victims of recurring episodes of IPV than men. In 35.4% of cases, victims of recurring IPV sustained injuries to three or more body regions. However, women who were victimized during a single act of violence, presented with the same distribution of injuries in only 21.1% of cases (p = 0.01). The results emphasize the fact that IPV often manifests itself in a spiraling escalation of physical violence. Furthermore, blunt force trauma to the head was diagnosed significantly more often (p = 0.05). The risk of sustaining a head injury was equally high for women who experienced a first-time violent episode by their ex-partner as it was for married women or women living in a non-marital partnership during recurring episodes of IPV. In an effort to reduce the increased risk for victims of IPV, health care personnel are highly encouraged to partake in forensic medicine based continuing education. This preventative measure may prepare clinicians to recognize IPV earlier as well as to treat and advise clients appropriately.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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