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Author Notes:

Correspondence: Debra Houry, MD, MPH, Department of Emergency Medicine, Emory University, 49, Jesse Hill Jr Dr SE #114, Atlanta, GA 30303; Tel: 404-616-3181; Fax 404-616-6182; E-mail: dhoury@emory.edu

Authors' contributions: DH, NJK, LAM, CC, HS, and KVR developed the study design and obtained funding.

DH, NJK, and RSK oversaw the study protocol and enrollment of participants.

ER and CL performed statistical analyses.

All authors participated in drafting and revising the article and all approved the final version.

DH takes responsibility for the paper as a whole.

Supervising editors: Rita K. Cydulka, MD, MS; Michael L. Callaham, MD

Acknowledgments: The authors wish to thank Fred Baugh, BA, Courtney Coleman, MPH, Jill Daugherty, MPH, Kirk Easley, MS, Hadley Mintz, MPH, and Jim Wiley, PhD, for their assistance with this study.

Disclosures: See the Manuscript Submission Agreement for any and all commercial, financial, and other relationships in any way related to the subject of this article, that might create any potential conflict of interest.


Research Funding:

Supported by CDC R-49 grant 4230113 (Houry), NIMH K-23 grant 069375 (Houry), and NIMH K23 64574 (Rhodes).

Does Screening in the Emergency Department Hurt or Help Victims of Intimate Partner Violence?


Journal Title:

Annals of Emergency Medicine


Volume 51, Number 4


, Pages 433-442.e7

Type of Work:

Article | Post-print: After Peer Review


Study objective Recent systematic reviews have noted a lack of evidence that screening for intimate partner violence does more good than harm. We assess whether patients screened for intimate partner violence on a computer kiosk in the emergency department (ED) experienced any adverse events during or subsequent to the ED visit and whether computer kiosk identification and referral of intimate partner violence in the ED setting resulted in safety behaviors or contact with referrals. Methods We conducted a prospective, observational study in which a convenience sample of male and female ED patients triaged to the waiting room who screened positive (on a computer kiosk-based questionnaire) for intimate partner violence in the past year were provided with resources and information and invited to participate in a series of follow-up interviews. At 1-week and 3-month follow-up visits, we assessed intimate partner violence, safety issues, and use of resources. In addition, to obtain an objective measure of safety, we assessed the number of violence-related 911 calls to participant addresses within a call district 6 months before and 6 months after the index ED visit. Results Of the 2,134 participants in a relationship in the last year, 548 (25.7%) screened positive for intimate partner violence. No safety issues, such as calling security or a partner’s interference with the screening, occurred during the ED visit for any patient who disclosed intimate partner violence. Of the 216 intimate partner violence victims interviewed in person and 65 contacted by telephone 1 week later, no intimate partner violence victims reported any injuries or increased intimate partner violence resulting from participating in the study. For the sample in the local police district, there was no increase in the number of intimate partner violence victims who called 911 in the 6 months after the ED visit. Finally, 35% (n=131) reported they had contacted community resources during the 3-month follow-up period. Conclusion Among patients screening positive for intimate partner violence, there were no identified adverse events related to screening, and many had contacted community resources.

Copyright information:

© 2008 American College of Emergency Physicians. Published by Mosby, Inc. All rights reserved.

This is an Open Access work distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommerical-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/3.0/).

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