Background: Intimate partner violence (IPV) is the leading cause of non-fatal injury to women worldwide. Musculoskeletal injuries, which are often seen by orthopaedic surgeons, are the second most common manifestation of IPV. We aimed to establish the 12-month and lifetime prevalence of IPV in women presenting to orthopaedic fracture clinics.
Methods: The PRAISE team of 80 investigators did a cross-sectional study of a consecutive sample of 2945 female participants at 12 orthopaedic fracture clinics in Canada, the USA, the Netherlands, Denmark, and India. Participants who met the eligibility criteria anonymously answered direct questions about physical, emotional, and sexual IPV, and completed two previously developed questionnaires (Women Abuse Screening Tool [WAST] and Partner Violence Screen [PVS]). We did a multivariable logistic regression analysis to investigate the risk factors associated with IPV.
Findings: The overall response rate was 85% (2344 of 2759 patients provided informed consent). One in six women (455/2839, 16·0%, 95% CI 14·7-17·4%) disclosed a history of IPV within the past year, and one in three (882/2550, 34·6%, 32·8-36·5%) had experienced IPV in their lifetime. 49 women (1·7%, 1·3-2·2%) attended their clinic visit as a direct consequence of IPV, only seven of whom (14%) had ever been asked about IPV in a health-care setting. Women in short-term relationships (OR 0·584, 99% CI 0·396-0·860, p=0·0001) were at increased risk of IPV and physical abuse in the past 12 months in this study. Compared with women in Canada and the USA, those in the Netherlands and Denmark were at reduced risk of any abuse in the past 12 months, physical abuse in lifetime, and any abuse in lifetime (OR 0·595, 99% CI 0·427-0·830, p<0·0001; 0·630, 0·445-0·890, p=0·001; and 0·464, 0·352-0·612, p<0·0001, respectively).
Interpretation: PRAISE is the largest prevalence study done so far in orthopaedics. Orthopaedic surgeons should be confident in the assumption that one in six women have a history of physical abuse, and that one in 50 injured women will present to the clinic as a direct result of IPV. Our findings warrant serious consideration for fracture clinics to improve identification of, respond to, and provide referral services for, victims of IPV.
Funding: Orthopaedic Trauma Association, Canadian Orthopaedic Foundation, and the McMaster University Surgical Associates. MB is partly funded by a Canada Research Chair.
Copyright © 2013 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.