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Feasibility of routine screening for domestic violence among women attending an urban health center in Puducherry, India

Divya Nair, Anindo Majumdar, Jayalakshmy Ramakrishnan, Mahalakshmy T, Swaroop Kumar Sahu.

Abstract
Background: Women facing domestic violence are likely to seek medical care but are likely not to report the cause as domestic violence.

Objective: To find out the yield of screening for domestic violence among ever-married adult women visiting an urban primary health-care center and to understand the health consequences and perception of women affected by domestic violence regarding selected aspects of the same.

Materials and Methods: This hospital-based, cross-sectional study was conducted in an urban health center attached to a tertiary care institution in Puducherry during October and November 2014. All adult women who had married at least once in their lifetime, and visited the outpatient department of the urban health center during the study period, either as patients or as patients’ attenders, were included in the study. Anonymized data were collected using a pretested semi-structured questionnaire. Questions assessed whether participants had ever faced or currently facing any physical, emotional, or sexual violence after marriage.

Results: Reportedly, 133 (57.3%) participants have experienced some form of domestic violence after marriage; of which, 68 (51.1%) had faced it in the last 1 year. Physical, emotional, and sexual violence was reported by 105 (45.3%), 110 (47.4%), and 26 (11.2%) participants, respectively. Both physical and emotional violence were faced by 89 (38%) women. Arguing with husband was perceived by most women as the most common cause of violence (about 43%). About 34.4% women cited the reason for not speaking about violence to someone else as not being helpful.

Conclusion: Screening for domestic violence was feasible in urban health center, the yield being high.

Key words: Screening, violence, domestic, India


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