Aims: To measure the prevalence of family violence reported by women seeking a termination of pregnancy (TOP).
Methods: A cross sectional survey involving consecutive women at one Health Waikato abortion clinic. Participants completed a self-administered questionnaire in private counselling rooms.
Results: Sixty-two of the 125 women invited to participate did so (response rate: 49.6%). The reported lifetime prevalence of physical or sexual abuse was 50.8%. The reported lifetime prevalence of physical abuse was 43.3% and that of sexual abuse was 32.2%. The reported prevalence of physical abuse within the last year was 13.3%, and of sexual abuse within the last year was 8.5%. Of women reporting a lifetime history of physical abuse, 69% reported that her partner was the perpetrator/one of the perpetrators of abuse.
Conclusions: The study demonstrated a high prevalence of family violence amongst women attending an abortion clinic. Consideration should be given to screening for family violence in abortion clinics in New Zealand. Screening should be accompanied by the provision of appropriate information and support for women with family violence issues.