Emerg Med J 30:198-201 doi:10.1136/emermed-2012-201127
  • Original article

Preparedness to care for victims of violence and their families in emergency departments

  1. Christen Erlingsson1
  1. 1Department of Health and Caring Sciences, Linnaeus University, Kalmar, Sweden
  2. 2Department of Medical and Health Sciences, Linköping University, Linköping, Sweden
  1. Correspondence to Josefin Rahmqvist Linnarsson, Department of Health and Caring Sciences, Linnaeus University, SE-391 82 Kalmar, Sweden; josefin.rahmqvist.linnarsson{at}
  1. Contributors JRL designed the study, collected and analysed the data and prepared the manuscript. EB participated in planning and supervising the study and revising the manuscript. KÅ contributed to the study design, data analysis and revision of the manuscript. CE participated in the planning of the study and revision of the manuscript.

  • Accepted 28 February 2012
  • Published Online First 20 March 2012


Objective To describe the preparedness to provide care for victims of violence and their families in emergency departments (EDs) in Sweden.

Methods A web-based questionnaire was sent to all hospital EDs in Sweden (N=66).

Results A total of 46 out of 66 (70%) heads of EDs completed the questionnaire. The results show that most of the EDs are prepared to care for women and children who are victims of violence. However, there seems to be a lack of preparedness to care for other groups of patients, such as victimised men. Very few EDs have routines to identify victims of violence among patients. Results also indicate that nurses play a key role in the care for victims of violence; however, family members are rarely included in care.

Conclusions A lack of general preparedness in EDs to care for all victims of violence, regardless of gender and age, can lead to many patients not receiving appropriate care and treatment. To correct this there is a need to implement guidelines and routines about the care for victims of violence. Further research can shed more light on which measures are needed to improve quality of care for these patients and their families.


  • Funding This study was funded by Linnaeus University.

  • Competing interests None.

  • Ethics approval Formal ethical approval was not required for this study according to current ethic legislation in Sweden. The study adheres to the ethical standards of the Helsinki-declaration. The participants were informed that participation was voluntary and that their individual responses were confidential.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

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0.5% - 43% response rate
3% - 41% response rate
10% - 16% response rate

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