Open Access Highly Accessed Research article

Acceptance of routine or case-based inquiry for intimate partner violence: a mixed method study

Heidi Stöckl1, Linda Hertlein2, Isabelle Himsl2, Nina Ditsch2, Carolin Blume2, Uwe Hasbargen2, Klaus Friese2 and Doris Stöckl23*

Author Affiliations

1 Social and Mathematical Epidemiology Group, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, 15-17 Tavistock Place, London, WC1H 9SH, UK

2 Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, Campus Grosshadern, Ludwig-Maximilians-University, Marchioninistr.15, Munich, 81377, Germany

3 Institute of Epidemiology II, Helmholtz Zentrum München, German Research Center for Environmental Health, Ingolstädter Landstr. 1, Neuherberg, 85764, Germany

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BMC Pregnancy and Childbirth 2013, 13:77  doi:10.1186/1471-2393-13-77

Published: 26 March 2013

Abstract

Background

The prevalence and detrimental health effects of intimate partner violence have resulted in international discussions and recommendations that health care professionals should screen women for intimate partner violence during general and antenatal health care visits. Due to the lack of discussion on routine or case-based inquiry for intimate partner violence during antenatal care in Germany, this study seeks to explore its acceptability among pregnant German women.

Methods

A mixed methods approach was used, utilizing a self-administered survey on the acceptability of routine or case-based inquiry for intimate partner violence in a university hospital’s maternity ward in Munich and in-depth interviews with seven women who experienced violence during pregnancy.

Results

Of the 401 women who participated in the survey, 92 percent were in favor of routine or case-based inquiry for intimate partner violence during antenatal care. Acceptance of routine or case-based inquiry for intimate partner violence during antenatal care was significantly associated with women’s experiences of child sexual abuse, being young, less educated, single or divorced and smoking during pregnancy. Open-ended survey questions and in-depth interviews stressed adequate training for screening, sufficient time and provision of referral information as important conditions for routine or case-based inquiry for intimate partner violence.

Conclusions

Women in this study showed an overwhelming support for routine or case-based screening for intimate partner violence in antenatal care in Germany. Until adequate training is in place to allow providers to inquire for intimate partner violence in a professional manner, this study recommends that health care providers are made aware of the prevalence and health consequences of violence during pregnancy.

Keywords:
Violence; Routine inquiry; Case-based inquiry; Antenatal care; Germany; Mixed methods