Disclosure of Intimate Partner Violence in Current Marital/Partner Relationships Among Female University Students and Among Women at an Emergency Department

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Abstract

Detecting intimate partner violence (IPV) might empower women to start working on the impact that the abuse experience has had on their lives. Little, however, is known about disclosure of abuse in community and in clinical settings. The purpose of this study was to explore whether there was a difference in the disclosure of abuse experience among women who were attending the emergency department (ED) at Landspitali University Hospital or were located at a university site, that is, at the University Square at the University of Iceland. A cross-sectional research design was used. Data were collected at the same time in 2009 over a period of 9 months from N = 306 women ranging in age from 18 to 67 years (n = 166 at the University Square and n = 140 at the ED). A significantly higher proportion of the women at the ED reported that they were victims of IPV in their current marital/partner relationship and scored higher on the Women Abuse Screening Tool total scale than the women at the university site. This gave a clear indication that the women at the ED experienced significantly more frequent and more severe IPV in their current marital/partner relationship compared with the women at the university site. Identifying IPV in primary and clinical settings might, therefore, function as a protective factor if these women are offered appropriate first response and interventions.

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