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Prevalence and correlates of domestic violence among people seeking treatment for self-harm: data from a regional self-harm register
  1. Tom Rollo Dalton1,2,
  2. Duleeka Knipe3,
  3. Gene Feder4,
  4. Salena Williams5,
  5. David Gunnell6,
  6. Paul Moran2
  1. 1 University Hospitals Bristol NHS Foundation Trust, Bristol, UK
  2. 2 Centre for Academic Mental Health, University of Bristol Medical School, Bristol, UK
  3. 3 University of Bristol Medical School, Bristol, UK
  4. 4 Centre for Academic Primary Care, University of Bristol Medical School, Bristol, UK
  5. 5 Liaison Psychiatry, Bristol Royal Infirmary, Bristol, UK
  6. 6 School of Social and Community Medicine, University of Bristol, Bristol, UK
  1. Correspondence to Dr Tom Rollo Dalton, University Hospitals Bristol NHS Foundation Trust, Bristol BS1 3NU, UK; tom.dalton1{at}


Background Previous research suggests that there is an association between domestic violence (DV) and self-harm (SH). Yet, the prevalence and clinical significance of DV among individuals presenting acutely to hospital with SH in the UK is unknown.

Objective To measure the prevalence and correlates of DV among patients presenting to hospital with SH.

Methods We conducted a cross-sectional study using registry data in order to describe the prevalence of DV within a UK population of people presenting to the emergency department (ED) with SH (n=1142).

Results 11.1% (95% CI 9.4% to 13.1%) of the sample reported DV. Those reporting DV were more likely to be female and separated from a partner. DV was associated with self-poisoning and with previous occurrence of SH.

Conclusion Our findings suggest that DV victimisation is more prevalent among those presenting to ED with self-harm than among the general population of ED attenders, and that the presence of DV may signify increased risk among those presenting to ED with SH.

  • violence, domestic
  • mental health, self harm
  • self harm
  • epidemiology
  • psychiatry

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  • Contributors TRD: study design, data analysis and interpretation, drafting the article. DK: data interpretation, critical revision of the article. GF: critical revision of the article. SW: data collection. DG: study design, critical revision of the article. PM: critical revision of the article, final approval of the version to be published. Peter Kennedy-Chapman, Katherine Bramley, Jessica Bartlett: data collection.

  • Funding This study was supported by the NIHR Biomedical Research Centre at University Hospitals Bristol NHS Foundation Trust and the University of Bristol. The BSHSR received start-up funding from NHS Bristol and Avon and Wiltshire Partnership NHS Trust.

  • Disclaimer The views expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and not necessarily those of the NHS, the National Institute for Health Research or the Department of Health and Social Care.

  • Competing interests None declared.

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

  • Data sharing statement The annual reports of the Bristol Self-Harm Surveillance Register (BSHSR) are available here:

  • Patient consent for publication Not required.