This paper reports register data concerning somatic and psychiatric hospital care on 117 battered women who were identified in a surgical emergency department and offered a treatment program. Data were collected during a period of 10 years before to 5 years after the battering in question. It was concluded that the battered woman seeks hospital care much more than the average woman of the same age. It is, however, not only traumatic injuries that bring her to the hospital, but also medical, gynecological, psychiatric, and unspecified disorders and suicide attempts. In this study it was hypothesized that this overuse of hospital care reflects the situation at home characterized by ongoing battering and other psychosocial problems. During the 5 years following the battering, the women did not show any signs of reducing their use of hospital care. It is alarming that this high use of medical care continues over years, and doctors should consider battering as one possible explanation for this phenomenon.
The main aim of the Swedish Women's Peace reform in 1998 was to enhance criminal legal protection for women exposed to violence in heterosexual relationships and to promote gender equality. However, these ambitions risk being contravened in a masculinist criminal legal system. One problem concerns how the victim is constructed in criminal legal cases. The author argues that moral balancing and discourses of responsibility and guilt in Swedish cases constrain the agency possible for women and suggest that a more comprehensive policy in Sweden must be developed to include violent men, their agency, and their responsibility for the violence.
The authors have studied the type and frequency of cases of wife-battering attending an emergency outpatient clinic in Trondheim, Norway. Most patients were between 20 and 30 years old. They had multiple traumas, with a predominance of traumas near the head and neck region. Almost half (44%) of the abusers were unemployed, and most of them were 30-40 years old. Alcohol was reported as an important precipitating factor by 75% of the victims. Comparison with a corresponding study carried out ten years ago shows that the frequency of wife-battering seems to be almost unchanged.