Examination of Hospital Emergency Department Visits for Assaults Identified as Either Intimate Partner Violence or Sexual Assault, United States, 2000-01

Linda E. Saltzman, Centers for Disease Control & Prevention
Patricia Holmgreen, Centers for Disease Control & Prevention
Robin M. Ikeda, Centers for Disease Control & Prevention
Eben M. Ingram, Centers for Disease Control & Prevention
Reshma R. Mahendra, Centers for Disease Control & Prevention
Courtney B. Pippen, Centers for Disease Control & Prevention

The National Electronic Injury Surveillance System All Injury Program (NEISS-AIP) provides information on hospital emergency department (ED) visits for assaults. We calculate national annualized and weighted estimates for those assaults involving intimate partners and for sexual assaults (SA) using data for 2000-2001. Preliminary analyses indicate that more than 175,000 emergency department visits are identified annually as involving intimate partner violence (IPV), and more than 30,000 as involving SA of someone age 15 or older. ED visits for these types of assaults are predominantly by females, most of whom are not hospitalized for their injuries. We discuss strengths and limitations of NEISS-AIP data for calculating national IPV or SA rates. In particular, we comment on the large proportion of ED visits (61% of assaults; 44% of sexual assaults) where the perpetrator/victim relationship is unknown or unspecified in the hospital chart. We compare our findings to other studies using ED data for studying violence against women. The completeness of the relationship data, and thus the utility of NEISS-AIP data for describing and estimating the magnitude of intimate partner violence and sexual assault, may be enhanced by strategies to improve documentation in ED records.

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Updated 05/20/2006