Objective: To determine the prevalence and predictors of domestic violence victims among attenders at the emergency department at Royal Brisbane Hospital in 1991.
Design: Cross-sectional study in which randomly selected nursing shifts were used to screen attenders.
Results: Of all attenders at the emergency department, 14.1% disclosed a history of domestic violence. Women were more likely than men to disclose domestic violence ("raw" relative risk, 2.31; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.83-2.91; relative risk adjusted for age and history of child abuse, 4.50; 95% CI, 3.02-6.71). The greatest risks for being an adult victim of domestic violence were being female and having experienced abuse as a child. Most of those who had experienced domestic violence within the last 24 hours (1.1% of attenders) came to the department after-hours when social work staff were unavailable for referral.
Conclusions: The prevalence and risk factors have implications for the training of doctors and nurses in domestic violence problems and for the provision of adequate resources to deal with the psychosocial aspects of domestic violence.