Domestic violence screening in pregnancy

Hawaii Med J. 2009 Nov;68(10):240-2.


Purpose: Domestic violence is an important health concern that has been shown to have adverse effects on maternal and neonatal outcomes. The objectives of this study were to compare the prevalence of prenatal screening for domestic violence in a hospital-based resident clinic setting with screening practices in private obstetric offices in Honolulu, Hawai'i and to explore physician attitudes towards domestic violence screening during pregnancy.

Methods: A retrospective chart review was conducted at Queen's Medical Center in Honolulu, Hawai'i in women who delivered between 2003 and 2004. A 6 item written survey was also given to all attending and resident physicians with obstetric privileges. Descriptive statistics including frequency measures were generated and chi square tests were used to compare categorical variables.

Results: A total of 270 charts were reviewed. There was a statistically significant difference (p < 0.01) between the number of antepartum patients from the resident clinic (2.4 percent) and antepartum patients from private obstetric practices (39.3 percent) that were screened for domestic violence. While the majority of respondents (77.6%) to the domestic violence survey were aware that the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists recommends domestic violence screening in pregnancy most respondents (69.0 percent) indicated that they "never or rarely" screened their patients for domestic violence.

Conclusion: Despite professional recommendations and an awareness of these recommendations, between 2003 and 2004, routine prenatal screening for domestic violence was markedly lacking for patients in this study population.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Attitude of Health Personnel
  • Domestic Violence / prevention & control
  • Domestic Violence / statistics & numerical data*
  • Female
  • Hawaii / epidemiology
  • Health Status Indicators
  • Health Surveys
  • Humans
  • Mass Screening / psychology
  • Mass Screening / statistics & numerical data*
  • Obstetrics / statistics & numerical data
  • Outpatient Clinics, Hospital / statistics & numerical data
  • Pregnancy
  • Private Practice / statistics & numerical data
  • Psychometrics
  • Quality of Health Care / standards
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Risk Factors
  • Surveys and Questionnaires