Using hospital emergency room data to assess intimate violence-related injuries
Hospital emergency department statistics represent a distinct and underutilized source for measuring nonfatal intimate violence, especially those cases that result in serious injury. This study attempts to gain an improved understanding of these types of incidents through the use of the National Electronic Injury Surveillance System (NEISS), a nationally representative sample of U.S. hospital emergency departments. Findings from the Bureau of Justice Statistics' (BJS) intentional injury supplement of NEISS, the Study of Injured Victims of Violence (SIVV), indicate that emergency departments treated more than 243,000 intimate violence-related injuries in 1994. Eighty-four percent of people intentionally injured by an intimate were female. Weapons were used in 27% of all intimate violence cases, but were more likely to have been used in injuries inflicted on male patients than female patients (68% of male injuries versus 19% of female injuries). Findings from the SIVV also indicate that previous surveys may have undercounted intimate violence injuries treated in hospital emergency departments, as estimates were 4 times greater than the National Crime Victimization Survey (NCVS) and 1.5 times greater than the National Family Violence Survey (NFVS).