Intimate Partner Violence-Related Fractures in the United States: An 8 Year Review

J Fam Violence. 2019 Oct;34(7):601-609. doi: 10.1007/s10896-018-0007-z. Epub 2018 Oct 3.


Background: Fractures associated with intimate partner violence (IPV) are devastating injuries that can have lifelong implications. With exception to the facial region, there are very limited epidemiological reports describing the types and location of IPV-related fractures. The objective of this study is to review a national database and describe trends associated with IPV-related fractures.

Methods: An analysis of all adults was performed using the National Trauma Data Bank from 2007 through 2014.Data including demographics, age, location of fracture, and drug/alcohol use were described and analyzed.

Findings: There were 1,352 records identified where the patient was diagnosed with an IPV-related fracture. Women accounted for 83% of the population and the mean age was 37.5 years. Approximately 30% of the population was diagnosed with vertebral, trunk, and rib fractures. Variances among fracture location were observed across age groups. Facial fractures were recorded more in the younger population (18-39 years) when compared to other age groups (40-59 years; 60+ years), p<0.0001. Alternatively, rib and femur fractures were more common among survivors aged 60+ when compared to the younger age groups, p<0.0001.

Interpretation: The ability to identify and respond to survivors of IPV in the healthcare setting is critically important. While facial fractures are common, they are not the only type of fractures that are seen. In many cases, healthcare professionals are the first line of defense in identifying suspected IPV cases. The findings of this paper build upon existing literature while also describing IPV-related fractures across the age spectrum.