Objective: To determine partner violence rates among women attending a general practice in Aotearoa, New Zealand.
Methods: This descriptive study was conducted in a hauora (Maori health provider general practice clinic) in one South Auckland community. Non-acute, English-speaking women who entered the huaora during 30 randomly selected clinic sessions in a five-week period in 2003 were eligible to participate. Research assistants (RAs) verbally administered a structured, brief questionnaire that included a partner violence screen (past 12 months), assessment of high danger risk, and lifetime prevalence. Of 148 women approached, 109 participated. Participants generally self-identified as Maori (74%) or New Zealand European (18%) and ranged in age from 17 to 82 years (mean 38.8).
Results: Twenty-three per cent (95% CI 15–31) of women screened positive for partner violence. Among the 25 women who screened positive, six (24%) had one or more high danger risk factors and 24 (96%) reported one or more children living in the household. Seventy-eight per cent (95% CI 70–86) of women reported a history of partner violence.
Conclusions: In this sample of mostly Maori women, direct partner violence questioning in a general practice setting yielded a high disclosure rate. Three out of four women disclosed violence by a partner; nearly one out of four disclosed violence by a partner in the past year.
Implications: Healthcare providers have the opportunity to identify and provide services to women and their children experiencing partner violence. Health care providers and the health care system also have a responsibility to join with the community in calling for non-tolerance of family violence.