One in six women arriving at orthopedic fracture clinics have been victims of physical, emotional or sexual violence at the hands of an intimate partner in the past year, and one in 50 arrive as a direct result of intimate partner violence, according to a recent study.
Researchers at McMaster University in Ontario, Canada, led the multinational study — the largest of its kind to date. The report appeared June 11 on The Lancets website.
“The unexpectedly high rate of IPV in orthopedics suggests that injury clinics are the ideal location for identification and support programs for victims of severe abuse who may be at increased risk of further injury and homicide,” Sheila Sprague, MSc, orthopedic research program manager at McMaster, said in a news release. She co-led the research with Mohit Bhandari, MD, PhD, a professor of orthopedic surgery at McMaster and an orthopedic surgeon for Hamilton Health Sciences.
Bhandari said almost three-quarters of the women in the study felt healthcare providers should ask all women about intimate partner violence, and about two-thirds said orthopedic surgeons are uniquely placed to ask.
Worldwide, intimate partner violence is the leading cause of nonfatal injury to women, researchers wrote. According to a new study by the World Health Organization, 42% of women who experienced intimate partner violence worldwide were injured as a result. Musculoskeletal injuries — often seen by orthopedic surgeons — are the second most common type of injury resulting from intimate partner violence, the authors wrote.
The Prevalence of Abuse and Intimate Partner Violence Surgical Evaluation in Orthopedic Fracture Clinics study, also called the PRAISE study, examined the yearly and lifetime prevalence of intimate partner violence among 2,945 adult women presenting to 12 fracture clinics in Canada, the U.S., the Netherlands, Denmark and India. All participants anonymously answered direct questions about abuse and completed two questionnaires, the Woman Abuse Screening Tool and the Partner Violence Screen, in private.
The results showed one in six women (16%) disclosed experiencing intimate partner violence in the past year, and slightly more than one in three (34.6%) reported experiencing abuse at some point during their lives.
Also important, the report stated, is of the 2% of women who attended the fracture clinic as a direct result of intimate partner violence, only 14% said they ever had been asked about abuse by a healthcare professional.
In the release, researchers said their findings align with a recent statement from the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force recommending all clinicians screen women for intimate partner violence. “Healthcare professionals in injury clinics are well positioned to identify patients experiencing IPV, since they often develop long-term interactions with women during repeat clinic visits for follow-up of fractures and associated surgical procedures,” the authors wrote.
Read the study abstract: http://bit.ly/1c07RAU.