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Open Access Research article

How many Slovenian family practice attendees are victims of intimate partner violence? A re-evaluation cross-sectional study report

Polona Selic*, Igor Svab and Nena Kopcavar Gucek

Author affiliations

Department of Family Medicine, Faculty of Medicine, University of Ljubljana, Poljanski nasip 58, Ljubljana, Slovenia

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Citation and License

BMC Public Health 2013, 13:703  doi:10.1186/1471-2458-13-703

Published: 1 August 2013

Abstract

Background

Intimate partner violence (IPV) can be considered a leading public health problem affecting approximately 50% of women during the course of their lifetimes. This study was carried out with the aim of re-testing the prevalence data and providing sufficient grounds for decision-makers in family medicine in Slovenia to adopt much-needed protocols for IPV management in the field.

Methods

In January 2012, every tenth general practitioner (GP) registered in Slovenia, of a total of 958, was invited to participate in a multi-centre cross-sectional study, and 9.4% of them, working in 90 family practices, agreed to participate. From February 1 to March 1, 2012, they asked every fifth family practice attendee aged 18 years and above, regardless of gender, to participate in the study. The short version of Domestic Violence Exposure Questionnaire was administered to 2572 patients.

Results

In the sample, there were more women (62.9% (n = 1617)). The average age of all the participants was 49.0 ± 16.1 years. Of 2572 participants (95.3% response rate), 17.1% people had been exposed to either emotional or both physical and emotional abuse. The prevalence of psychological violence was 10.3%, and that of concurrent physical and psychological abuse 6.8%, with all the patients exposed to physical IPV disclosing concurrent psychological violence. Female gender and previous formal divorce were risk factors identified in all three multivariate logistic regression models. The odds of concurrent physical and psychological and either type of IPV exposure in patients were lessened by an age of 65 years or above. The odds for either type of IPV were also lower in single people, while in concurrent physical and psychological IPV exposure, living in urban settings acted as a protective factor.

Conclusions

In Slovenian family practice attendees, an IPV exposure prevalence of approximately 17% should be considered a valid estimation.

Keywords:
Intimate partner violence; Violence prevalence; Physical violence; Psychological violence; Primary care; Risk factors