Objective: Assistance must be available to abused women where they seek help. This study identified victims of partner abuse and asked them to indicate where they sought help when battered. The characteristics of acute battering incidents were also investigated. Methods: Consecutive women, ages 19 to 65, were recruited when they came to 10 emergency departments in two cities. Women were excluded if the following criteria existed: a language barrier, serious illness, or inability to separate subjects from accompanying persons. Results: Of 4448 women who completed the questionnaire, 37% acknowledged physical abuse by a partner at some time; 10% reported a present battering relationship; and 4% said their current visit to the emergency department was for abuse by an intimate partner. In 70% of surveys, the battering person was a boyfriend or ex-boyfriend. Weapons used were items near at hand. The three most common helping resources, in decreasing frequency of use, were family and friends, police, and the emergency department. Discussion: Resources to provide help must be available where women seek care when they are abused. Abuse among women who come to emergency departments is common, and emergency departments are the third highest resource cited by abused women. Emergency nurses should be prepared to identify and assist abused women.
ASJC Scopus subject areas