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June 17, 1992

Physicians and Domestic ViolenceEthical Considerations

Author Affiliations

Gallipolis, Ohio, Chair; Durham, NC, Vice Chair; Chicago, Ill; Casper Wyo; Washington, DC; Kansas City, Mo; Anaheim, Calif; Edwardsville, Ill; Chicago, Ill, Secretary and staff author; Chicago, Ill, Associate Secretary and Staff author; Chicago, Ill, Staff Associate and principal staff author.
From the Council on Ethical and Judicial Affairs, American Medical Association, Chicago, Ill.

JAMA. 1992;267(23):3190-3193. doi:10.1001/jama.1992.03480230082033

DOMESTIC violence, spouse abuse, and battering all refer to the victimization of a person with whom the abuser has or has had an intimate/romantic relationship.1,2 These three terms are used interchangeably throughout this article. Domestic violence may take the form of physical, sexual, and psychological abuse, is generally repeated, and often escalates within relationships.3-7

Most evidence indicates that domestic violence is predominantly perpetrated by men against women.8-11 Some evidence suggests that women are as likely to use violence against male partners as men are against female partners.12 However, these research findings have been criticized on various counts as misleading.13(p312),14(pp181-183),15 In particular, it is clear that the impact on the health of female victims of domestic violence is generally much more severe than the impact on the health of male victims.3,14,16 Battering is also known to occur in gay and lesbian relationships, but there has