Sexual Health Sexual Health Society
Publishing on sexual health from the widest perspective

Can screening for domestic violence be introduced successfully in a sexual health clinic?

Anna McNulty A C , Paul Andrews A and Michelle Bonner B
+ Author Affiliations
- Author Affiliations

A Sydney Sexual Health Centre, Sydney/Sydney Eye Hospital, South-eastern Sydney Illawarra Area Health Service, GPO 1614, Sydney, NSW 2000, Australia.

B Violence and Abuse (Adults) Prevention Program, Women’s Health Unit, South Eastern Sydney and Illawarra Area Health Service, Barker St, Randwick, NSW 2031, Australia.

C Corresponding author. Email:

Sexual Health 3(3) 179-182
Submitted: 9 November 2005  Accepted: 4 May 2006   Published: 29 August 2006


Background: Domestic violence is reported frequently when Australian women are surveyed and is associated with poorer health outcomes on a variety of measures. Routine screening for domestic violence is a strategy designed to both prevent domestic violence and provide an opportunity for early intervention. Methods: Following staff consultation and training, a 1-month pilot of routine screening for domestic violence (RSDV) of all female patients was conducted in a large sexual health clinic. Results: Following the evaluation of this pilot, RSDV was introduced in 2003 for all new female patients. Of the 3244 women eligible for screening, 2893 (89%) were screened. Of these, 254 (8.8%) identified domestic violence. Conclusions: Routine screening for domestic violence is feasible in a sexual health clinic population. High screening rates were achieved and high rates of domestic violence were identified, providing an opportunity for intervention.


No funding received.


[1] Bradley F,  Smith M,  Long J,  O’Dowd T. Reported frequency of domestic violence: findings from a cross sectional survey of women attending general practice. BMJ 2002; 324 271–4.
CrossRef | PubMed |

[2] McCauley J,  Kern DE,  Kolodner K,  Dill L,  Shroeder AF,  DeChant HK, et al. The ‘battering syndrome’: prevalence and clinical characteristic of domestic violence in primary care internal medicine practices. Ann Intern Med 1995; 123 737–46.
PubMed |

[3] Mouzos J Makkai T. Women’s experiences of male violence findings from the Australian component of the International Violence Against Women Survey (IVAWS). Research and Public Policy Series No. 56. Canberra: Australian Institute of Criminology; 2004.

[4] Astbury J,  Atkinson J,  Duke JE,  Easteal PL,  Kurrle SE,  Tait PR,  Turner J. The impact of domestic violence on individuals. Med J Aust 2000; 173 427–31.
PubMed |

[5] Hegarty K,  Hindmarsh E,  Gilles M. Domestic violence in Australia: definition, prevalence and nature of presentation in clinical practice. Med J Aust 2000; 173 363–7.
PubMed |

[6] Mazza D,  Lawrence JM,  Roberts GL,  Knowlden SM. What can we do about domestic violence? Med J Aust 2000; 173 532–5.
PubMed |

[7] NSW Health DepartmentPolicy and procedures for identifying and responding to domestic violence. Sydney: NSW Health Department; 2003.

[8] NSW Health Department. Routine screening for domestic violence – snapshot report 1. Sydney: NSW Health Department; 2004.

[9] Stewart D,  Cecutti A. Physical abuse in pregnancy. Can Med Assoc J 1993; 149 1257–63.

[10] Gazmararian J,  Lazorick S,  Spitz AM,  Ballard TJ,  Saltzman LE,  Marks JS. Prevalence of violence against pregnant women: review article. JAMA 1996; 275 1915–20.
CrossRef | PubMed |

[11] Mazza D,  Dennerstein L,  Ryan V. Physical, sexual and emotional violence against women: a general practice-based prevalence study. Med J Aust 1996; 164 14–7.
PubMed |

[12] McLennan W . Women’s safety survey. Canberra: Australian Bureau of Statistics; 1996.

[13] Augenbraun M,  Wilson T,  Allister L. Domestic violence reported by women attending a sexually transmitted disease clinic. Sex Transm Dis 2001; 28 143–7.
CrossRef | PubMed |

[14] Bauer HM,  Gibson P,  Hernandez M,  Kent C,  Klausner J,  Bolan G. Intimate partner violence and high risk sexual behaviours among female patients with sexually transmitted diseases. Sex Transm Dis 2002; 29 411–6.
PubMed |

[15] Khan A,  Hussain R,  Schofield M. Correlates of sexually transmitted infections in young Australian women. Int J STD AIDS 2005; 16 482–7.
CrossRef | PubMed |

[16] Quinlivan J,  Evans S. A prospective cohort study of the impact of domestic violence on young teenage pregnancy outcomes. J Pediatr Adolesc Gynecol 2001; 14 17–23.
CrossRef | PubMed |

Rent Article (via Deepdyve) Export Citation Cited By (7)