In the acute trauma caused by intimate partner violence (IPV), the emergency department (ED) and its staff are often the first contact for women. The failure to intervene in IPV situations may contribute to further injury and health problems for women, as well as to frequent visits to the ED.
The aims of this study is to describe the history of IPV with its health consequences for women when seeking care for their acute injuries and what kinds of care experiences had the women had when visiting EDs.
Data were collected via questionnaires from 35 women and after that seven semi-structured interviews were conducted. The data were analyzed using quantitative and qualitative methods.
Among the women the lifetime prevalence of physical IPV was 94%. Ninety-seven percent of past and 56% of acute cases of physical violence were accompanied by psychological violence. The surveyed women highlighted individual needs for care, including appropriate medical care of injuries, and psychological and tangible support. The women worried about their children and partners and regarded supporting the whole family as important.
There is a need for ED professionals to develop family-oriented services, and a need for further training and research on how to deal with women exposed to IPV.