Objective To determine the prevalence of domestic violence in a population of pregnant women.
Design Questionnaire survey.
Setting Antenatal booking clinic in a north of England hospital.
Population Five hundred consecutive women were included.
Methods Anonymous confidential questionnaire to women who were not accompanied by their partners.
Main outcome measures Disclosure of a past history of physical, emotional or sexual abuse.
Results Four hundred and seventy-five questionnaires were returned (95% response rate). The prevalence of domestic violence was 17%. Domestic violence was highest in the age group 26–30 years and boyfriends were the main perpetrators. Punching and slapping were the most common pattern of violence, and 10% of women experiencing domestic violence had had forced sexual activity.
Conclusion The prevalence of domestic violence in a cohort of pregnant women in the north of England was 17%. Consideration should be given for routine screening for domestic violence in pregnancy to institute effective intervention strategies.