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June 14, 1995

Laws Mandating Reporting of Domestic Violence: Do They Promote Patient Well-being?

Author Affiliations

From San Francisco Neighborhood Legal Assistance Foundation (Ms Hyman); the Department of Internal Medicine, San Francisco General Hospital (Dr Schillinger); and the Division of General Internal Medicine (Drs Schillinger and Lo), Program in Medical Ethics, the Robert Wood Johnson Clinical Scholars Program, and the Center for AIDS Prevention Studies (Dr Lo), University of California, San Francisco.

JAMA. 1995;273(22):1781-1787. doi:10.1001/jama.1995.03520460063037

DOMESTIC violence is increasingly recognized as a major public health problem, affecting individuals of all ethnic and socioeconomic backgrounds. Domestic violence has been defined as a pattern of coercive control consisting of physical, sexual, and/or psychological assaults against current or former intimate partners.1 Batterers also commonly use economic abuse, isolation, and intimidation to exert power over their partners. This article often refers to the battering of women, since 90% to 95% of domestic violence victims are women.2 Domestic violence also can occur against men and in homosexual as well as heterosexual relationships.3,4

Approximately 4 million women are believed to be battered every year by their partners.5 At least one fifth of all women will be physically assaulted by a partner or ex-partner during their lifetime.6 Domestic violence is believed to be the most common cause of serious injury to women7 and accounts for more

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