Hong Kong Med J 2008;14:451-7 | Number 6, December 2008
1700 Victims of intimate partner violence: characteristics and clinical outcomes
CL Lau, WM Ching, WL Tong, KL Chan, KL Tsui, CW Kam
Department of Accident and Emergency Medicine, Tuen Mun Hospital, Tuen Mun, Hong Kong
OBJECTIVES. Objective To investigate the demographics and clinical outcomes of intimate partner violence victims presenting to an emergency department.
DESIGN. Retrospective, observational study.
SETTING. Emergency department of a regional hospital in Hong Kong.
PATIENTS. Adults presented with intimate partner violence during years 1999 to 2004.
RESULTS. We assessed 1695 victims of intimate partner violence with a mean age of 39 (range, 18-84) years, of whom 87% were female. Most of the patients were in the age-group of 31 to 40 years and the overall male-to-female ratio was 1:7. In Tin Shui Wai and Yuen Long districts, such cases appeared to be on the increase. Nearly two thirds (65%) of all the victims presented to the emergency department outside the office hours of medical social workers. Approximately 10% had been abused once before, and 40% more than twice. The head (39%), face (30%), upper limbs (37%), and lower limbs (17%) were commonly the injured parts. The majority (73%) had mild injuries; severe injuries being relatively less common. The latter included lacerations or cuts (6.6%), nasal bone fractures (0.3%), limb fractures (0.8%), and ruptured tympanic membranes (0.9%). In-patient management was undertaken for 8% of the victims, due to physical injury in 68% of these individuals and psychological trauma in the remaining 32%. The hospital admission rate dropped from 12% in 2001 to 4% in 2004.
CONCLUSIONS. Variations in demographic data had a significant impact on future service planning and management of intimate partner violence. Accident and Emergency Department and Emergency Medicine Ward services together with extended social worker support could provide timely, multidisciplinary care to meet the various needs of victims and subsequently reduce hospital admissions.
Key words: Battered women; Domestic violence; Emergency medical services; Prevalence; Spouse abuse
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