Women's responses to screening for domestic violence in a health-care setting

Midwifery. 2001 Dec;17(4):289-94. doi: 10.1054/midw.2001.0279.


Background: interest in the health impact of domestic violence is increasing and routine screening for violence in health settings has been recommended. However, there are limited data about how women feel about such screening.

Aim: to investigate women's responses to being screened for domestic violence during a routine clinic visit.

Method: a cross-sectional cohort study. Women (1500) from five Queensland hospitals were asked to complete a self-report questionnaire during the visit following the consultation at which they had been screened for domestic violence. Sealable envelopes and a 'posting box' were provided to ensure anonymity of returned envelopes.

Findings: of the 1313 respondents, 98% believed it was a 'good idea' to screen for domestic violence. Over 96% felt 'OK' during the process and 77% of the 30 women who felt uncomfortable still agreed that it was a good idea to screen. Women from rural and remote areas of Queensland had similar responses to those of their city counterparts.

Conclusion: women in Queensland found screening for domestic violence acceptable and, where health providers are suitably educated, it should be included when taking a routine health history.

MeSH terms

  • Attitude to Health*
  • Cohort Studies
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Domestic Violence / psychology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Mass Screening / psychology*
  • Medical History Taking
  • Outpatient Clinics, Hospital
  • Pregnancy
  • Queensland
  • Spouse Abuse / diagnosis*
  • Spouse Abuse / prevention & control
  • Spouse Abuse / psychology
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Women / psychology*
  • Women's Health Services / organization & administration
  • Women's Health Services / standards*
  • Women's Health*