Male victims of domestic violence and their history of perpetrating violence

Robert L. Muelleman, Patricia Burgess

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

36 Scopus citations


Objective: To determine whether male victims of domestic violence have similar rates of violence perpetration compared with men evaluated in the ED with other causes of injury. Methods: Case-control retrospective ED record review with linkage to police department records. Cases were identified by ICD code N-code 995.81 (adult maltreatment syndrome) over a 4-year period (January 1, 1991, to December 31, 1994) at one urban trauma center. Medical records were reviewed to confirm that the assailant was an intimate female partner. Controls were identified by E-codes 880-888 (unintentional falls) and matched by age, race, and date of visit. All names were linked to police department record information regarding arrests for domestic violence perpetration, nonaggravated assaults, aggravated assaults, firearms violations, and driving under the influence of alcohol (DUI). This information was reported without patient identifiers. Comparisons between cases and controls were made with X2 analysis. Results: Forty-five cases and 45 controls were identified. The cases were injured by unarmed fights, E960 (31%); cuttings, E966 (33%); blunt objects, E968.2 (31%); and bites, E968.8 (5%). Median age (interquartile range) for cases was 32 (25.75, 38.25) years and for controls was 31 (25, 36.5)years. Median follow-up (interquartile range) of police records after ED visit was 45 (37, 50) months for cases and 45 (36.75, 51) months for controls. Fifty-one percent of the cases had arrests for domestic violence perpetration vs 22.2% of the controls (p = 0.009). Forty-four percent of the cases had been arrested for nonaggravated assaults vs 20.0% of the controls (p = 0.024). There was no statistical difference between the cases and controls in arrests for aggravated assaults (13.3% vs 4.4%), firearm violations (22.2% vs 17.8%), or DUIs (35.6% vs 20%). Conclusion: Men who present to the ED with injuries inflicted by their female partners have a high rate of domestic violence perpetration. This information calls into question whether many male 'victims' of domestic violence are injured in self-defense by the female 'victim.' Also, injury by a female partner may be a useful indicator to identify batterers, so they can be referred by appropriate resources.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)866-870
Number of pages5
JournalAcademic Emergency Medicine
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 1998


  • Battering
  • Domestic violence
  • Male victims
  • Spousal abuse

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Emergency Medicine

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