Prevalence of Intimate Partner Violence Among Women Seeking Healthcare


Research TeamMembers

  • Jane Koziol-McLain, PhD, RN, Associate Professor AUT University (Principal Investigator)
  • Lynne Giddings, PhD, RGON, RM, Associate Professor AUT University
  • Maria Rameka, BSc, RGON, Principal Lecturer, AUT University
  • Julie Gardiner, BHSc, RGON, Middlemore Emergency Care
  • Pam Batty, BHSc, RGON, Middlemore Emergency Care, Raukura Hauora O Tainui
  • Elaine M. Fyfe R.N., R.M., ITRU Research Officer

The study was conducted in South Auckland and involved collaboration among:

  • Interdisciplinary Trauma Researh Unit - AUT University
  • South Auckland Health Emergency Care
  • Raukura Hauora O Tainui
  • Counties Manukau - Middlemore Emergency Care

Background Many barriers to asking about partner violence in the health care setting have been identified. The lack of data regarding prevalence and screening acceptability in Aotearoa/New Zealand healthcare settings led to the development of this programme of research.

Purpose The proposed study provided estimates of the prevalence of intimate partner violence among women seeking healthcare in emergency department and Maori healthcare clinics. The knowledge gained provided the basis for future work aimed at incorporating healthcare screening and intervention into the community-wide response to prevent intimate partner violence, so rather than ignore the problem of family violence, health professionals can learn to respond effectively.

Methods Trained research assistants conducted brief face-to-face structured interviews using standardized screening questions with women seeking emergency healthcare or care within a Maori healthcare provider service. Screening questions include the following:

  1. In the past year, has anyone hit, punched, slapped, kicked or otherwise hurt you?
  2. Is there a current or past partner that is making you feel afraid?
  3. In the past year, has anyone forced you to have sex when you did not want to?

All women were offered general partner violence information with a community referral contact number. Women who screened positive received a brief intervention and assessment for high risk. Women identified as high risk received either a social work referral (in the emergency care setting) or community domestic violence services (in the Maori healthcare provider clinic).

Women who screened positive were also asked to participate in a followup focused interview to determine their acceptance of screening and reflections on healthcare site-based interventions.

A children's perspective on what works best for children was also in process, led by Dr Emma Davies, of Institute of Public Policy, AUT. Karolina Stasiak is Research Officer for the children's study.

Findings The project was completed in 2004, with the following outputs:

  1. Prevalence of intimate partner violence among women presenting to an urban adult and paediatric emergency care department.The New Zealand Medical Journal 2004 Nov 26; Vol. 117 (1206).
  2. Women's Perceptions of Partner Violence Screening in two Aotearoa New Zealand Healthcare Settings: "What Took You So Long".Interdisciplinary Trauma Research Unit, AUT University 2005 Oct; Report 3.

This study was made possible by a grant from the Auckland University of Technology Contestable Research Fund and the Ministry of Health (2002-2003).