Mandatory reporting of intimate partner violence to police: views of physicians in California

Am J Public Health. 1999 Apr;89(4):575-8. doi: 10.2105/ajph.89.4.575.


Objectives: This study examined physicians' perspectives on mandatory reporting of intimate partner violence to police.

Methods: We surveyed a stratified random sample of California physicians practicing emergency, family, and internal medicine and obstetrics/gynecology.

Results: An estimated 59% of California primary care and emergency physicians (n = 508, 71% response rate) reported that they might not comply with the reporting law if a patient objects. Primary care physicians reported lower compliance. Most physicians agreed that the legislation has potential risks, raises ethical concerns, and may provide benefits.

Conclusions: Physicians' stated noncompliance and perceived negative consequences raise the possibility that California's mandatory reporting law is problematic and ineffective.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Attitude of Health Personnel*
  • California
  • Ethics, Medical
  • Female
  • Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice*
  • Humans
  • Informed Consent
  • Male
  • Mandatory Reporting*
  • Middle Aged
  • Physicians / psychology*
  • Police*
  • Spouse Abuse / legislation & jurisprudence*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires