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RESEARCH ARTICLE

Experience of domestic violence routine screening in Family Planning NSW clinics

Tara Hunter A , Jessica R. Botfield A C , Jane Estoesta A , Pippa Markham A , Sarah Robertson A and Kevin McGeechan A B

A Family Planning NSW, 328–336 Liverpool Road, Ashfield, NSW 2131, Australia.

B Sydney School of Public Health, Edward Ford Building, The University of Sydney, NSW 2006, Australia.

C Corresponding author. Email: JessicaB@fpnsw.org.au

Sexual Health - http://dx.doi.org/10.1071/SH16143
Submitted: 14 July 2016  Accepted: 25 September 2016   Published online: 7 November 2016

Abstract

Background: This study reviewed implementation of the Domestic Violence Routine Screening (DVRS) program at Family Planning NSW and outcomes of screening to determine the feasibility of routine screening in a family planning setting and the suitability of this program in the context of women’s reproductive and sexual health. Methods: A retrospective review of medical records was undertaken of eligible women attending Family Planning NSW clinics between 1 January and 31 December 2015. Modified Poisson regression was used to estimate prevalence ratios and assess association between binary outcomes and client characteristics. Results: Of 13 440 eligible women, 5491 were screened (41%). Number of visits, clinic attended, age, employment status and disability were associated with completion of screening. In all, 220 women (4.0%) disclosed domestic violence. Factors associated with disclosure were clinic attended, age group, region of birth, employment status, education and disability. Women who disclosed domestic violence were more likely to have discussed issues related to sexually transmissible infections in their consultation. All women who disclosed were assessed for any safety concerns and offered a range of suitable referral options. Conclusion: Although routine screening may not be appropriate in all health settings, given associations between domestic violence and sexual and reproductive health, a DVRS program is considered appropriate in sexual and reproductive health clinics and appears to be feasible in a service such as Family Planning NSW. Consistent implementation of the program should continue at Family Planning NSW and be expanded to other family planning services in Australia to support identification and early intervention for women affected by domestic violence.

Additional keywords: Australia, health services, intimate partner violence, sexual and reproductive health.


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