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The relationship between intimate partner violence reported at the first antenatal booking visit and obstetric and perinatal outcomes in an ethnically diverse group of Australian pregnant women: a population-based study over 10 years
  1. Hannah Grace Dahlen1,2,
  2. Ana Maria Munoz3,
  3. Virginia Schmied1,
  4. Charlene Thornton4
  1. 1 School of Nursing and Midwifery, Western Sydney University, Penrith, New South Wales, Australia
  2. 2 Ingham Institute, Liverpool, New South Wales, Australia
  3. 3 Blacktown Mount Druitt Hospitals, Blacktown, New South Wales, Australia
  4. 4 College of Nursing and Health Sciences, Flinders University, Adelaide, South Australia, Australia
  1. Correspondence to Professor Hannah Grace Dahlen; H.Dahlen{at}


Objectives Intimate partner violence (IPV) is a global health issue affecting mainly women and is known to escalate during pregnancy and impact negatively on obstetric and perinatal outcomes. The aim of this study is to determine the incidence of IPV in a pregnant multicultural population and to determine the relationship between IPV reported at booking interview and maternal and perinatal outcomes.

Design This is a retrospective population-based data study. We analysed routinely collected data (2006–2016) from the ObstetriX system on a cohort of pregnant women.

Setting and participants 33 542 women giving birth in a major health facility in Western Sydney.

Primary outcomes Incidence of IPV, association with IPV and other psychosocial variables and maternal and perinatal outcomes.

Result 4.3% of pregnant women reported a history of IPV when asked during the routine psychosocial assessment. Fifty-four per cent were not born in Australia, and this had increased significantly over the decade. Women born in New Zealand (7.2%) and Sudan (9.1%) were most likely to report IPV at the antenatal booking visit, with women from China and India least likely to report IPV. Women who reported IPV were more likely to report additional psychosocial concerns including Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale scores > 13 (7.6%), thoughts of self-harm (2.4%), childhood abuse (23.6%), and a history of anxiety and depression (34.2%). Women who reported IPV were more likely to be Australian born, smoke and be multiparous and to have been admitted for threatened preterm labour (Adjusted Odds Ratio (AOR) 1.8, 95% CI 1.28 to 2.39).

Conclusions A report of IPV at the first antenatal booking visit is associated with a higher level of reporting on all psychosocial risks, higher antenatal admissions, especially for threatened preterm labour. More research is needed regarding the effectiveness of current IPV screening for women from other countries.

  • intimate partner violence
  • domestic violence
  • family violence
  • migrant
  • obstetrics
  • perinatal

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  • Contributors HGD designed the study, assisted with analysis and wrote the paper. AMM undertook a review of the literature and helped access the data for analysis. VS consulted on the study and contributed to the writing of the paper. CT analysed the data and assisted in writing the paper.

  • Funding Funding for the project came from a Western Sydney University Research Partnership grant with NSW Health.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Patient consent Not required.

  • Ethics approval Western Sydney Local Health District (Protocol Number HREC2013/ 4/6.7 (3697) AU RED LNR/13/WMEAD/98) and an amended approval given in 2017.

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

  • Data sharing statement We do not have ethics permission to share the data.

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