TITLE

Violence against women and consequent health problems: a register-based study

AUTHOR(S)
Helweg-Larsen, Karin; Kruse, Marie
PUB. DATE
January 2003
SOURCE
Scandinavian Journal of Public Health;Jan2003, Vol. 31 Issue 1, p51
SOURCE TYPE
Academic Journal
DOC. TYPE
Article
ABSTRACT
Aims: This study set out to examine whether women victimized by domestic violence in a given year subsequently have more health problems measured by amount of hospital contacts due to disease than non-victimized women. Methods: A case control study was carried out, based on data in the Danish National Patient Register, which covers all hospital contacts, identified by the unique citizen number. Three age groups were included: 15-19, 20-29, and 30-49 years. Cases were women with any hospital contact as a result of intentional injuries, defined as domestic violence, in 1995, and controls were women with all other reasons for hospital contact in 1995. The Nordic Classification of External Causes of Injuries classified reason for contact, place of occurrence, and mechanism of injury. Domestic violence was defined as intentional injury by blunt force and occurring in a residential area. The rate of subsequent hospital contacts because of any disease, induced abortions, gynaecological diseases, and mental illness among cases and controls in 1996-98 was compared. Results: 1,815 women victimized by domestic violence and 388,366 controls were identified. In the entire period, the victims of violence presented significantly more health problems than the controls, as measured by hospital contacts due to any disease. The rate of contacts due to induced abortions, gynaecological diseases, and mental illness was significantly higher among the victims in all three age groups in the first year following the identified violence. In the entire period, victims of violence aged 20-49 presented a significantly higher rate of contacts due to mental illness, and victims aged 20-29 years a higher rate of induced abortions. Conclusions: Registration practice of all hospital contacts in Denmark facilitates nationally representative analyses of associations between violence and health problems. The observed differences among women victimized by domestic violence and controls point to violence against women as a major public health problem. Proper registration of hospital contacts due to intentional injury may both guarantee adequate follow-up of the individual victim, and serve as a useful tool in the monitoring of general violence prevention.
ACCESSION #
9430430

 

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