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Revista de Saúde Pública

On-line version ISSN 1518-8787Print version ISSN 0034-8910


SCHRAIBER, Lilia Blima et al. Violence against women attending public health services in the metropolitan area of São Paulo, Brazil. Rev. Saúde Pública [online]. 2007, vol.41, n.3, pp.359-367. ISSN 1518-8787.

OBJECTIVE: To estimate the prevalence of (physical, psychological, and sexual) violence against women by an intimate partner and non-partner perpetrators among users of public health services and to compare these women's perception of having ever experienced violence with reports of violence in their medical records in the different services studied. METHODS: The study was conducted in 19 health services, selected as a convenience sample and grouped into nine research sites, in metropolitan area of São Paulo from 2001 to 2002. Questionnaires on having ever experienced violence in their lifetime and in the last 12 months and perpetrators were applied to a sample of 3,193 users aged 15 to 49. A total of 3,051 medical records were reviewed to verify the notification of violence. Comparative analyses were performed by Anova with multiple comparisons and Chi-square test followed by its partition. RESULTS: The following prevalences were found: any type of violence 76% (95% CI: 74.2;77.8); psychological 68.9% (95% CI: 66.4;71.4); physical 49.6% (95% CI: 47.7;51.4); physical and/or sexual 54.8% (95% CI: 53.1;56.6), and sexual 26% (95% CI: 24.4;28.0). The prevalence of physical and/or sexual violence by an intimate partner in their lifetime was 45.3% (95% CI: 43.5;47.1), and by non-partners was 25.7% (95% CI: 25.0;26.5). Only 39.1% of women reporting any episode of violence perceived they had ever experienced violence in their lifetime and 3.8% of them had any reports of violence in their medical records. The prevalences were significantly different between sites as well as the proportion of perception and reports of violence in medical records. CONCLUSIONS: The expected high magnitude of the event and its invisibility was confirmed by low rate of reports in the medical records. Few perceived abuses as violence. Further studies are recommended taking into account the diversity of service users.

Keywords : Battered women; Violence against women; Spouse abuse; Mandatory reporting; Underregistration; Women's health services; Questionnaires.

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