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Women Health. 2010 Mar;50(2):125-43. doi: 10.1080/03630241003705060.

Six months after routine screening for intimate partner violence: attitude change, useful and adverse effects.

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  • 1School of Public Health and Community Medicine, The University of New South Wales, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia.


This evaluative study measured self-reported changes in abuse-related measures six months after routine screening for intimate partner violence. Participants were 122 women who disclosed abuse and 241 who did not report abuse, screened in antenatal, substance abuse, and mental health services according to an existing standardized protocol used in New South Wales, Australia. Six months after initial screening, abused women were more likely to report increased agreement with a number of attitudes relating to abuse, in particular that being hurt by a partner affects a woman's health and that health services should ask about abuse. The proportion reporting current abuse was significantly lower after six months. While 6% (7/119) reported negative emotional reactions, 34% (41/120) reported useful effects-most frequently re-evaluating their situation and reducing isolation. Women who had experienced abuse, but elected not to disclose it reported similar effects. The results of this study lend support to the use of protocols for asking about abuse and responding to disclosures of abuse.

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