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Journal Article


De Puy J, Radford L, Le Fort V, Romain-Glassey N. J. Fam. Violence 2019; 34(5): 371-383.


(Copyright © 2019, Holtzbrinck Springer Nature Publishing Group)






Evidence to inform assessment of needs of children exposed to intimate partner violence (IPV) in health settings is limited. A Swiss hospital-based medico-legal consultation for adult victims of violence also detects children's exposure to IPV and refers cases to the Pediatrics Child Abuse and Neglect Team. Based on a conceptual ecological framework, this study examined the nature and circumstances of children's exposure to IPV described in accounts collected by nurses in consultations with adult IPV victims. From 2011 to 2014, 438 parents (88% female) of 668 children aged 0 to 18 sought medico-legal care from the Violence Medical Unit in Lausanne Switzerland following assaults by intimate partners (85% male). As part of the consultation, nurses completed a semi-structured questionnaire with victimized parents, recording their answers in the patient file. Victims' statements about the abuse, their personal, family and social contexts, and their children's exposure to IPV were analyzed. Descriptive statistics and qualitative thematic content analyses were conducted to identify, from the victimized parents' accounts, elements useful to understand the nature and circumstances of children's exposure and involvement during violent events. Parent statements on specific violent events described children being present in 75% of the cases. Children were said to be exposed to, and responded to, severe physical violence, serious threats and insults, in the context of repeated assaults and coercive control. Families, especially mothers, were often coping with additional socio-economic vulnerabilities. Implications for further developing assessments of children living with IPV, especially in health settings were identified.

Language: en


Child maltreatment; Child needs assessment; Children’s exposure; Clinical legal medicine; Domestic violence; Intimate partner violence


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