Characteristic of victims of family violence seeking care at health centers in Maputo, Mozambique.
ABSTRACT Family violence (FV) is a common, yet often invisible, cause of violence. To date, most literature on risk factors for family, interpersonal and sexual violence is from high-income countries and might not apply to Mozambique.
To determine the individual risk factors for FV in a cohort of patients seeking care for injuries at three health centers in Maputo, Mozambique.
A prospective multi-center study of patients presenting to the emergency department for injuries from violence inflicted by a direct family member in Maputo, Mozambique, was carried out.
Patients who agreed to participate and signed the informed consent were verbally administered a pilot-tested blank-item questionnaire to ascertain demographic information, perpetrator of the violence, historical information regarding prior abuse, and information on who accompanied the victim and where they received their initial evaluation. De-identified data were entered into SPSS 13.0 (SPSS, version 13.0) and analyzed for frequencies.
During the 8-week study period, 1206 assault victims presented for care, of whom 216 disclosed the relationship of the assailant, including 92 being victims of FV (42.6%). The majority of FV victims were women (63.0%) of age group 15-34 years (76.1%) and were less educated (84%) compared to national averages. Of the patients who reported assault on a single occasion, most were single (58.8%), while patients with multiple assaults were mostly married (63.2%). Most commonly, the spouse was the aggressor (50%) and a relative accompanied the victim seeking care (54.3%). Women most commonly sought police intervention prior to care (63.2%) in comparison to men (35.3%).
In Mozambique, FV affects all ages, sexes and cultures, but victims seeking care for FV were more commonly women who were less educated and poorer.