Women who have been exposed to domestic violence and abuse are twice as likely to have a consultation for emergency contraception, according to research.
A study published in the British Journal of General Practice on 4 December 2018
looked at patient records of all women aged 15–49 years registered with a GP in the UK between 1 January 2011 and 31 December 2016.
The authors identified 43,570 eligible patients who had undertaken a GP consultation for emergency contraception and compared them with 174,280 control patients who had not.
They found that 0.4% of patients with recorded consultations for emergency contraception had one or more records of domestic violence, compared with just 0.1% of the control group.
“After adjusting for all co-variates, women who had been exposed to domestic violence and abuse were two times more likely to have a consultation for emergency contraception than women with no experience of domestic violence and abuse,” the paper said.
It added that when the age range is limited to those aged 25–39 years, patients exposed to domestic violence “were 2.8 times more likely to have a consultation for emergency contraception, compared with unexposed women”.
The researchers advised that domestic violence interventions for primary care “be updated to include new evidence on the association between exposure to domestic violence and abuse and increased use of emergency contraception”.
“All providers of emergency contraception should be aware that a request for emergency contraception can indicate possible exposure to domestic violence and abuse,” they added.