Intimate partner violence victims' acceptance and refusal of on-site counseling in emergency departments: Predictors of help-seeking behavior explored through a 5-year medical chart review

Anna Wai-Man Choi, Janet Yuen-Ha Wong, Ruby Tsz-Fung Lo, Pik-Ying Chan, John Kit-Shing Wong, Chu-Leung Lau, Chak-Wah Kam
Preventive Medicine 2018, 108: 86-92
Healthcare services constitute the first formal support that many intimate partner violence (IPV) victims receive and a link to formal welfare and psychological support. The help-seeking behavior for psychosocial support, e.g., Accident and Emergency Departments (AED) onsite counseling, is key to developing effective support for IPV victims. This study aimed to strengthen the health-welfare support link to aid IPV prevention in AEDs by investigating the acceptance and refusal of on-site counseling by IPV victims. A retrospective cohort study retrieved and reviewed all records of IPV victims presenting at the AEDs of two Hong Kong hospitals between 2010 and 2014. A total of 157 male and 823 female IPV victims were identified, 295 of whom refused on-site counseling. Bivariate and multivariate analyses were performed to examine the association between help-seeking and demographic and violent injury-related factors. The odds of help-seeking via on-site counseling were significantly lower for victims with mental illness (aOR=0.49; 95% CI=0.27, 0.88). After controlling for all demographic characteristics, mental illness, and drug abuse information, sex remained an independent predictor of help-seeking (aOR=2.62; 95% CI=1.45, 4.74); victims who had experienced >2 abuse incidents were more likely to seek help than those who had experienced ≤2 abuse incidents (aOR=1.90; 95% CI=1.11, 3.26). The factors associated with help-seeking from on-site services by IPV victims reflect the need for multidisciplinary collaborative work aimed at IPV prevention. Healthcare professionals require training on how to promote help-seeking behavior targeted specifically for male and female IPV victims according to their needs and preferences.

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