Abstract: The purpose of this study was to measure the prevalence of intimate partner and family violence amongst a population of Australian female nurses, doctors and allied health professionals. Methods: We conducted a descriptive, cross-sectional survey in a large Australian tertiary maternity hospital with 471 participating female health professionals (45.0% response rate). The primary outcome measures were 12 month and lifetime prevalence of intimate partner violence (Composite Abuse Scale) and family violence. Results: In the last 12 months, one in ten (43, 11.5%) participants reported intimate partner violence: 4.2% (16) combined physical, emotional and/or sexual abuse; 6.7% (25) emotional abuse and/or harassment; 5.1% (22) were afraid of their partner; and 1.7% (7) had been raped by their partner. Since the age of sixteen, one third (125, 29.7%) of participants reported intimate partner violence: 18.3% (77) had experienced combined physical, emotional and/or sexual abuse; 8.1% (34) emotional abuse and/or harassment; 25.6% (111) had been afraid of their partner; and 12.1% (51) had been raped by their partner. Overall, 45.2% (212) of participants reported violence by a partner and/or family member during their lifetime, with 12.8% (60) reporting both. Conclusion: Intimate partner and family violence may be common traumas in the lives of female health professionals, and this should be considered in health workplace policies and protocols, as health professionals are increasingly urged to work with patients who have experienced intimate partner and family violence. Implications include the need for workplace manager training, special leave provision, counselling services and other resources for staff.
Researchers: McLindon, E., Humphreys, C. & Hegarty, K.