The Public Health Crisis of Domestic Violence

Domestic violence is not a private matter; it is one of the most common, but underreported, crimes. Domestic violence affects every community across the country, and affects all races, cultures, genders, sexual orientations, and happens in families regardless of socio-economic status.

The impact of domestic violence resulted in the recommendations for domestic violence screening of female patients by the American Medical Association, the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force, and many other medical associations. As alarming as these statistics are, they probably do not reflect the actual number of victims because researchers agree that domestic violence is chronically underreported.

Facts Medical Professionals Should Know

  • More than 1 in 3 women and 1 in 4 men in the US have experienced some form of domestic violence in their lifetime (View Citation)
  • Studies show that women experience domestic violence incidents more frequently than men, are three times more likely to sustain injuries due to domestic violence, are six times more likely to require medical care for injuries from domestic violence, are three times as likely to be stalked, and among murder victims, are six times more likely to have been killed by an intimate partner than men (View Citation)
  • Women who experienced domestic violence are more likely to report chronic illnesses than women who do not, including (View Citation)
    • Asthma
    • Diabetes
    • Irritable bowel syndrome
    • Frequent headaches
    • Chronic pain
    • Difficulty sleeping
    • Poor physical health
    • Poor mental health
  • The treatment of injuries by domestic violence add up to more than $4 billion annually (View Citation)
  • Nearly two million injuries and nearly 1,300 deaths result each year from domestic violence (View Citation)
  • More than a half-million injuries require medical attention, and over 145,000 injuries require hospitalization (View Citation)
  • Over 18 million mental health visits also result from domestic violence (View Citation)
  • Between 22 and 35 percent of female patients in emergency departments are there for problems related to domestic violence (View Citation)
  • One in three female trauma patients is a victim of abuse (View Citation)

Because of this, ALL medical professionals should screen their patients for domestic violence.

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http://www.cdc.gov/violenceprevention/pdf/IPVBook-a.pdf

Teri Randall, Domestic Violence Intervention Calls for More Than Treating Injuries, 264 JAMA 939, 939 (1990).; Violence (Position Paper), Am. Acad. of Fam. Physicians (2011)

Teri Randall, Domestic Violence Intervention Calls for More Than Treating Injuries, 264 JAMA 939, 939 (1990).; Violence (Position Paper), Am. Acad. of Fam. Physicians (2011)

http://www.cdc.gov/violenceprevention/pdf/nisvs_report2010-a.pdf
http://www.cdc.gov/violenceprevention/pdf/IPVBook-a.pdf
http://www.cdc.gov/violenceprevention/pdf/IPVBook-a.pdf
http://www.cdc.gov/violenceprevention/pdf/IPVBook-a.pdf

Oehme and Stern 2013

http://www.cdc.gov/violenceprevention/pdf/cdc_nisvs_overview_insert_final-a.pdf