Domestic violence includes emotional, sexual, and economic abuse as well as physical violence. The different forms of abuse may occur together or on their own, although always in the context of coercive control by one partner over the other. To reinforce the fact that domestic violence does not necessarily involve physical violence, we prefer the term partner abuse. Abuse can continue after the partners have separated.
Partner abuse occurs in all types of relationships, both same sex and heterosexual.2
Although about one in seven men in the United Kingdom report experiencing physical assault by a current or former partner,3
these incidents are generally less serious than those reported by women, and men are less likely to be injured, frightened, or seek medical care.4
The context and severity of violence by men against women makes domestic violence against women a much larger problem in public health terms.2,5
Worldwide, 10-50% of women report having been hit or physically assaulted by an intimate partner at some time.w1
In the United Kingdom, 23% of women aged 16-59 have been physically assaulted by a current or former partner, and two women are killed every week.3
This article therefore focuses on routine inquiry of women accessing health services.