Domestic Violence Among Male and Female Patients Seeking Emergency Medical Services

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Gender differences among a cohort of injured patients seeking emergency medical services were examined with respect to their experiences as perpetrators and/or victims of domestic violence. Contextual issues, including violence initiation, emotional and behavioral responses to partner-initiated violence, and injury frequency and severity were analyzed. Women reported male partner-initiated violence more frequently than men reported female partner-initiated violence. Behavioral responses to partner initiated violence varied. Women were more likely to report using force back and to involve law enforcement. Women were more likely to be injured in a domestic assault over their lifetime, within the last year, and at the time of recruitment. Comparison of injury severity revealed that women reported higher rates of injuries than men in all possible severity categories. Women also reported experiencing more fear than men during partner-initiated violence, as well as being subjected to larger numbers of dominating and controlling behaviors, and greater intimidation secondary to their partner's size. Understanding contextual differences in partner violence for women and men has significant implications for policy development, identification, treatment, and referral of patients identified as living in violent relationships.

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