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What factors are associated with repeated domestic assault in patients attending an emergency department? A cohort study
  1. Adrian Boyle1,
  2. Claire Frith1,
  3. Daniel Edgcumbe1,
  4. Catriona McDougall2
  1. 1Emergency Department, Addenbrookes Hospital, Cambridge, UK
  2. 2Cambridge University, Cambridge, UK
  1. Correspondence to Adrian Boyle, Addenbrookes Hospital, Cambridge, UK; Adrian.Boyle{at}


Objective To identify what clinical variables are associated with repeat attendances at the emergency department (ED) in patients who have experienced domestic assault.

Methods A medical records-based cohort study was conducted in a single ED in Cambridge, UK.

Participants 294 adult patients with disclosed domestic assault presenting between 2001 and 2004 were followed up by examining their medical records until 2004.

Main outcome Measures Re-presentation at the ED with disclosed domestic assault.

Results 45 patients re-presented at the ED with further domestic assault. Repeated assault was more likely in patients in whom no clear diagnosis was made (odds ratio (OR) 4.6 95%, CI 1.4 to 14.5; p<0.001), who had head injuries (OR 4.08, 95% CI 1.94 to 8.59; p<0.001), injuries to the upper limb (OR 1.94, 95% CI 1.01 to 3.73; p=0.05), or who had a psychiatric diagnosis (OR 3.43, 95% CI 1.34 to 8.76; p=0.1).

Conclusions There are readily measurable clinical features that are associated with repeat ED attendance as a result of domestic assault.

  • Domestic
  • emergency departments
  • epidemiology
  • interpersonal
  • nursing
  • violence

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  • Funding This study was funded by the College of Emergency Medicine Red Lion Square, London, UK.

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  • Competing interests None.

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  • Ethics approval This study was conducted with the approval of the Cambridge Local Research and Ethics Committeee.

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

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