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Prehospital care
Emergency Medical Services: a resource for victims of domestic violence?
  1. R Mason1,2,
  2. B Schwartz3,
  3. R Burgess3,
  4. E Irwin4
  1. 1Women's College Research Institute, Women's College Hospital, Toronto, Ontario, Canada
  2. 2Dalla Lana School of Public Health, University of Toronto, Toronto, Canada
  3. 3Sunnybrook Osler Centre for Prehospital Care, Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre, Toronto, Ontario, Canada
  4. 4Toronto Emergency Medical Services, Toronto, Ontario, Canada
  1. Correspondence to Professor R Mason, Women's College Research Institute, Women's College Hospital, 790 Bay St., 7th floor, Toronto, ON M5G 1N8, Canada; robin.mason{at}


Background Domestic violence (DV), also known as intimate partner violence (IPV), is one of the leading causes of serious injury among women of childbearing age. As first responders on the scene during DV calls where personal injuries have occurred, Emergency Medical Services (EMS) could routinely identify, report and assist victims of violence. Yet, little is known of the prevalence of DV calls in EMS practice, Emergency Medical Technicians' (EMT) knowledge and comfort in responding to such calls, or how they care for victims.

Method The objectives of this study were to assess EMTs' knowledge of and experience with providing care to victims of DV in the province of Ontario, Canada. Data were gathered through an online, short-answer survey. Survey data were analysed using basic frequency displays, and descriptive statistics are reported.

Results Almost 500 EMTs participated in this study, the vast majority of whom (90%) attended at least one DV call in the preceding year, with 65% attending between 10 and 20 DV calls. The majority of respondents (84.5%) wished for more education and training on the issue.

Conclusion EMTs have frequent contact with victims of DV yet have received little education about the issue. The majority of those surveyed would like specific education and training on DV.

  • Domestic violence
  • abused women
  • emergency medical services
  • prehospital care
  • emergency medical technician
  • paramedics
  • prehospital care
  • violence
  • domestic

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  • Funding Partial support for this project was provided by the province of Ontario

  • Competing interests None.

  • Ethics approval This study was conducted with the approval of the Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre, Toronto.

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