Measuring Violence Against Women With Emergency Department Data: Using the National Electronic Injury Surveillance System

Linda E. Saltzman, Centers for Disease Control & Prevention
Len J. Paulozzi, Centers for Disease Control
Martie P. Thompson, Centers for Disease Control

The National Electronic Injury Surveillance System All Injury Program is a collaborative effort between the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Comission. Since July 2000, nationally representative data has been collected on injuries treated in a stratified probability sample of 66 U.S. hospital emergency departments. Data will be collected on more than 600,000 injury-related cases annually. For each violence-related case, data include the victim-perpetrator relationship and a narrative description of the injury circumstances. Pilot data suggest that at least 5% of cases will be identified as violence-related. However, the system's capability for correctly detecting violence-related injuries, particularly those involving intimate patner violence or sexual assault, is unknown. We discuss some of the methodological strengths (representatives, timeliness, large sample size) and limitations (under-identification of cases; mis-classification) of these data for identifying intimate partner violence and sexual assault, and we explore the utility of this data source for public health surveillance and research on violence against women.

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Updated 05/20/2006