To establish prevalence of domestic violence among female psychiatric patients, including risk factors, health professional attention and acceptability of routine enquiry. Participants were 70 adult women in an inner-city community mental health team who received questionnaire and case-note review. Main outcome measures were: lifetime/point prevalence of domestic violence; attitudes to routine enquiry; past disclosure and recording in psychiatric records; clinical and demographic risk factors.
Lifetime prevalence was 60% for physical violence from partners, 27% during pregnancy and 40% receiving injuries. Point prevalence was not reported, as an insufficient number of participants were currently in a relationship. As many as 82% regarded routine enquiry as acceptable, but only 24% had ever been questioned. Logistic regression analysis showed prediction by presence of children, previous overdose, and experience of sexual abuse.
Domestic violence in female psychiatric patients is common but undetected. Enquiry should be routine, but would require staff training.
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