Introduction Experience of domestic violence is reported as 28.3% in women and 14.7% in men. It causes significant harm and screening sexual health clinic attendees is recommended. Proformas used within our service include a question on domestic violence however screening practice among clinicians varies.
Aim Investigate the prevalence of domestic violence among our clinic attendees and determine if current practice is successful at identifying this.
Methods Patients attending a clinic on 9th January 2017 were asked to complete an anonymous questionnaire including questions on domestic violence, mental health, unplanned pregnancy and STI’s. A retrospective audit of documentation of domestic violence in patient’s records was then undertaken for all patients attended on that day.
Results Total number of attendees on 9th January was 111, 57 completed questionnaires (52% female and 50% male attendees). Domestic violence was reported by 27% female attendees and 16% male attendees (10% in heterosexual male, 33% in MSM). Females suffering domestic violence more commonly reported sexual assault, mental health problems and unwanted pregnancy.
34% female attendees had a documented enquiry regarding domestic violence. 24% of these reported domestic violence. Among male attendees 38% had a documented enquiry with 9% reporting domestic violence. Reporting of domestic violence by men to clinicians was lower than predicted by the survey.
Discussion With our current practice we can expect to miss 10 women and 5 men a day who have suffered domestic violence. Routine enquiry is to be recommended. Reluctance to disclose domestic violence may still be a barrier to identifying this hidden problem.