Characteristics of family violence victims presenting to emergency departments in Hong Kong

Ko Ling Chan, Anna Wai Man Choi, Daniel Y.T. Fong, Chun Bong Chow, Ming Leung, Patrick Ip

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

23 Citations (Scopus)


Background: The Emergency Department (ED) has been shown to be a valuable location to screen for family violence. Study Objective: To investigate the characteristics of family violence victims presenting to EDs in a Chinese population in Hong Kong. Methods: This study examined a retrospective cohort of patients presenting to the Accident and Emergency Departments of three regional hospitals in the Kwai Tsing district of Hong Kong for evaluation and management of physical injuries related to family violence during the period of January 1, 1997 to December 31, 2008. Results: A total of 15,797 patients were assessed. The sample comprised cases of intimate partner violence (IPV; n = 10,839), child abuse and neglect (CAN; n = 3491), and elder abuse (EA; n = 1467). Gender differences were found in patterns of ED utilization among the patients. The rates of readmission were 12.9% for IPV, 12.8% for CAN, and 8.9% for EA. Logistic regression showed that being male, being discharged against medical advice, and arriving at the hospital via ambulance were the common factors associated with readmission to the EDs for patients victimized by IPV and CAN. Conclusion: This study investigates the victim profile of a large cohort of a Chinese population, providing a unique data set not previously released in this cultural or medical system. The findings give insights to early identification of victims of family violence in the EDs and suggest that screening techniques focused on multiple forms of family violence would improve identification of violence cases. Multidisciplinary collaboration between health, legal, and social service professionals is also warranted to meet the various needs of victims and to reduce hospital readmissions.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)249-258
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Emergency Medicine
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2013 Jan

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Emergency Medicine


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