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Ask about domestic assault in emergency contraception consultations, study urges

Practice nurses should ask about domestic violence during consultations for emergency contraception, research has suggested.

The research found that women who experience domestic violence or assault were twice as likely to ask for emergency contraception at their GP practice.

Women aged between 25 and 39 were nearly three times as likely to ask for emergency contraception if they had experienced assault or violence.

Researchers also found that women who had experience domestic violence in the year before their first consultation for emergency contraception were around 70% more likely to present on multiple occasions asking for emergency contraception.

The study looked at primary care records for over 200,000 women aged between 15 and 49. Women who had consultations for emergency contraception between 2011 and 2016 were matched against women who did not have consultations for emergency contraception.

The authors said in the paper: ‘Domestic violence and assault interventions for primary care (for example, IRIS in the UK) should be updated to include new evidence on the association between exposure to domestic violence and increased use of emergency contraception.

‘All providers of emergency contraception should be aware that a request for emergency contraception can indicate possible exposure to domestic violence and assault. A consultation for emergency contraception in general practice is an appropriate context for asking about domestic violence and assault and responding to disclosure.’