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News From the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
August 2, 2000

Use of Medical Care, Police Assistance, and Restraining Orders by Women Reporting Intimate Partner Violence—Massachusetts, 1996-1997

JAMA. 2000;284(5):558-559. doi:10.1001/jama.284.5.558

MMWR. 2000;49:485-488

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Approximately 1.5 million women in the United States are physically or sexually assaulted by an intimate partner (IP) each year.1 The Woman Abuse Tracking in Clinics and Hospitals (WATCH) Project at the Massachusetts Department of Public Health analyzed data from the 1996 and 1997 Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS) in Massachusetts to (1) estimate the percentage of women aged 18-59 years experiencing intimate partner violence (IPV) who used medical care, police assistance, and restraining orders during the preceding 5 years, (2) determine where women experiencing IPV went for medical care, and (3) examine the overlap in use of these three services. This report describes the results of these analyses, which indicate that a higher percentage of women aged 18-59 years use police assistance rather than obtain a restraining order or seek medical care.