The prevalence of domestic violence in pregnant women

BJOG. 2003 Mar;110(3):272-5.


Objective: To determine the prevalence of domestic violence in a population of pregnant women.

Design: Questionnaire survey.

Setting: Antenatal booking clinic in a north of England hospital.

Population: Five hundred consecutive women were included.

Methods: Anonymous confidential questionnaire to women who were not accompanied by their partners.

Main outcome measures: Disclosure of a past history of physical, emotional or sexual abuse.

Results: Four hundred and seventy-five questionnaires were returned (95% response rate). The prevalence of domestic violence was 17%. Domestic violence was highest in the age group 26-30 years and boyfriends were the main perpetrators. Punching and slapping were the most common pattern of violence, and 10% of women experiencing domestic violence had had forced sexual activity.

Conclusions: The prevalence of domestic violence in a cohort of pregnant women in the north of England was 17%. Consideration should be given for routine screening for domestic violence in pregnancy to institute effective intervention strategies.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Cohort Studies
  • Domestic Violence / statistics & numerical data*
  • England / epidemiology
  • Female
  • Health Surveys
  • Humans
  • Pregnancy / psychology
  • Pregnancy / statistics & numerical data*
  • Prenatal Care
  • Prevalence
  • Self Disclosure
  • Sexual Harassment
  • Surveys and Questionnaires