• emergency department;
  • intervention in intimate partner violence;
  • intimate partner violence

Aims and objectives.  To examine interventions and practices carried out by the emergency department professionals.

Background.  Developing the related practices provides an opportunity for early intervention in women exposed to intimate partner violence who visit the emergency department.

Design.  The descriptive, cross-sectional multi-centre designed study with a convenience sample was used to acquire more information to illustrate the situation of intervening in intimate partner violence at Finnish emergency departments.

Participants.  A total of 24-hour emergency departments from all over Finland participated in the study.

Methods.  Research materials were collected by questionnaires given to emergency department professionals (n = 950) and 51% were returned.

Data analysis.  The data were analysed using quantitative methods. Chi-square test was used to test the statistical significance of the data. A p-value of <0·05 was considered to indicate statistical significance of each analysis.

Results.  The findings of this study reveal that the emergency department professionals who had common practices and written procedures for handling intimate partner violence reported having helped both women and perpetrators more often than those without. Good cooperation with different help providers, opportunities to consult them and training received facilitated intervention methods.

Conclusions.  There is a need for more effective change of information and cooperation with different help providers concerning how to act with women and their family members in intimate partner violence situations. Emergency department professionals do not know enough about the legislation concerning intimate partner violence and their professional duty, e.g. if a child’s health and well-being are in danger.

Relevance to clinical practice.  This information can be utilised in research, professional education, further training and practical work and when planning the prevention of intimate partner violence.