Intimate Partner Violence (IPV) involves behavior that causes physical, psychological, or sexual harm, and has significant health consequences. Given the prevalence of and impact of IPV, various organizations recommend routine IPV screening for women by health-care professionals.
We investigated the feasibility of screening women for IPV at a hospital in India. Specifically, we assessed prevalence of IPV, method of questionnaire administration, response rate, availability of IPV related community services for referrals, environment of screening, and explored perspectives of health professionals regarding in-hospital screening.
We administered two questionnaires to consenting women; the Composite Abuse Scale (CAS) and Woman Abuse Screening Tool (WAST). Health professionals involved in conducting the study and in managing care for patients were also interviewed.
Forty-seven patients were enrolled in the study. The most reported injury was fractures (39% [CI 25%-54%]) and the greatest proportion involved spine and neck (28% [CI 16%-43%]). Prevalence of IPV was 30% [CI 17%-45%] according to the WAST and 40% [CI 26%-56%] according to the CAS. A majority of the participants used self-report as the method of questionnaire administration. Additionally, the self-report group had greater disclosure than the interview-administered group. The environment at this private hospital was considered adequate for screening and we found several IPV support networks in the community. However, health professionals were reluctant to screen for IPV.
Our findings suggest that screening for IPV at an orthopaedic clinic in India is feasible.