Injury Patterns and Help-seeking Behavior in Hong Kong Male Intimate Partner Violence Victims

Anna Wai-Man Choi, Janet Yuen-Ha Wong, Chak-Wah Kam, Chu-Leung Lau, John Kit-Shing Wong, Ruby Tsz-Fung Lo
Journal of Emergency Medicine 2015, 49 (2): 217-26

BACKGROUND: Few studies have focused on the characteristics of male victims of intimate partner violence (IPV). Providers of care lack knowledge on the pathognomonic features to identify male IPV victims, who tend to be hidden.

OBJECTIVES: This study investigated the injury patterns of male IPV victims and their help-seeking characteristics.

METHODS: A retrospective cohort study was carried out in two regional hospitals in Hong Kong. Data were collected from the hospital computer databases (i.e., the Accident & Emergency Information System and the Clinical Data Analysis and Reporting System) and the medical charts completed by physicians.

RESULTS: Medical records were retrieved from August 1, 2009 to December 31, 2011 for all IPV victims presenting at the accident and emergency departments. There were 372 cases in total, including 54 male and 318 female cases. Male victims were more likely to have abrasions/scrapes (66.7%), human bites (20.4%), and laceration/cutting (18.5%) than female victims (31.4%, 1.3%, 6.9%; p < 0.001, p < 0.01, p < 0.001, respectively). More male victims received dressing (38.9%) and injection (13.0%) than female victims (14.5%, 3.5%; p < 0.001, p < 0.01, respectively). Fewer male victims attended consultation by the medical social worker (MSW; 5.6%) than female victims (21.7%).

CONCLUSION: Abrasion wounds are the most common in male victims of IPV. Male victims have lower rates of seeking help from MSWs, and most are aged 40 years or above. This study has identified important characteristics of male victims to aid the development of a comprehensive program for early IPV detection and management.

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