Study objective: To characterize injuries to battered women by comparing their location, type, and severity with those of injuries to women resulting from other mechanisms.
Methods: Cross-sectional study of 9,057 women between the ages of 19 and 65 years who presented for any reason to the emergency departments of 10 hospitals serving inner-city, urban, and suburban populations.
Results: A total of 280 injured, battered women were identified during the study period. About 3.1% (95% confidence interval [Cl]. 2.7% to 3.5%) of all women seen in the ED, and 11.2% [95% Cl, 10.0% to 12.4%) of injured women with known mechanisms of injury, were determined to be positive for battering. Battered women were more likely to be injured in the head, face, neck, thorax, and abdomen (P < .001) than were women injured by other mechanisms. Twelve specific injury types were identified that occurred more frequently in battered women.
Conclusion: Although battered women experience certain injury types more frequently than women injured by other mechanisms, the low positive predictive value of these injuries supports the use of universal screening for domestic violence in all injured women.