Background In 2008/09, 53 861 incidents of GBV were reported to the police in Scotland; 84% were male perpetrator against female victim and 14% female vs male. National guidance recommends routine enquiry of abuse (REA) amongst female attendees at sexual health clinics. Section SH 4.3 of the Sexual Health and Blood Borne Virus Framework says that levels of GBV should be recorded. Research in an antenatal setting found that 99% of respondents thought REA was acceptable. However, a literature review found no assessment of the acceptability of REA in sexual health clinics. It is also unclear what value there may be of REA in male attendees.
Aim In order to elucidate these areas, attendees at the sexual health service in the city were asked for their opinion of REA and their experience of GBV.
Method As part of our 2010 patient satisfaction survey, attendees were asked: We are considering asking people whether they have been a victim of domestic violence (eg, being hit by a girlfriend, boyfriend, husband or wife). Q1. Do you think we should routinely ask patients this? Q2. Have you ever been the victim of domestic violence? (Support is available here).
Results Of the 110 respondents, 100 answered Q1 and 104 Q2. Of the 100, 81% (95% CI 72% to 88%) said REA would be acceptable. No significant difference between men and women or abused and non-abused (9/10 of abused, 90% (CI 56% to 100%)). One man (1/42 2% (CI 0.1% to 12.6%) and 10 women (10/42, 16% (CI 8% to 28%) reported GBV (p=0.025 for gender difference). One man and three women declined to answer. Comments from women who reported GBV included “Other departments should deal with this ” – 38 yr old seen at CSRH and “Gives them someone who will listen” – 64 yr old seen at GUM.
Discussion REA was acceptable to the majority. GBV history was not insignificant in men. This survey used a narrow definition of GBV and reports may have been higher had a more inclusive definition been used. Implications are that REA should be done in clinics and should be considered in men, perhaps using a self-completed questionnaire.
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