A Randomized Controlled Trial of a Brief Emergency Department Intimate Partner Violence Screening Intervention

Ann Emerg Med. 2010 Oct;56(4):413-423.e1. doi: 10.1016/j.annemergmed.2010.05.001. Epub 2010 Jun 11.


Study objective: We evaluate the efficacy of emergency department (ED) brief intimate partner violence screening intervention in reducing short-term revictimization.

Methods: A randomized controlled trial with blinded 3-month follow-up was conducted in an urban New Zealand ED. Participants included 399 nonacute, English-speaking women aged 16 years and older, 199 randomly assigned to the treatment group and 200 to the control group. Participants in both groups received usual emergency health care. Women assigned to the treatment group received a standardized 3-item intimate partner violence screen, statements about the unacceptability of violence, risk assessment, and referral by a health professional research assistant. The main outcome measure was self-reported intimate partner violence exposure. Secondary outcomes included self-care strategies (use of safety behaviors and community resources).

Results: Forty-four of 344 (12.8%) women reported intimate partner violence during the 3-month follow-up period: 24 of 177 (13.6.%) among women in the usual care group and 20 of 167 (12.0%) among women in the treatment group. The adjusted odds ratio, controlling for design effects and covariates, was 0.86 (95% confidence interval 0.39 to 1.92).

Conclusion: This brief intimate partner violence screening intervention did not significantly reduce short-term violence exposure. Continuing work is needed to maximize intervention effectiveness and monitor medium- and long-term outcomes.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Domestic Violence* / prevention & control
  • Domestic Violence* / statistics & numerical data
  • Emergency Service, Hospital*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Middle Aged
  • New Zealand
  • Socioeconomic Factors
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Young Adult