Screening for and disclosure of domestic violence during the COVID-19 pandemic : results of the PRICOV-19 cross-sectional study in 33 countries

Authors & affiliation

Lisa Fomenko, Ines Keygnaert, Esther Van Poel, Claire Collins, Raquel Gómez Bravo, Päivi Korhonen, Merja K. Laine, Liubove Murauskiene, Athina Tatsioni, Sara Willems


The COVID-19 pandemic left no one untouched, and reports of domestic violence (DV) increased during the crisis. DV victims rarely seek professional help, yet when they do so, they often disclose it to their general practitioner (GP), with whom they have a trusting relationship. GPs rarely screen and hence rarely take the initiative to discuss DV with patients, although victims indicate that offering this opportunity would facilitate their disclosure. This paper aims to describe the frequency of screening for DV by GPs and disclosure of DV by patients to the GP during the COVID-19 pandemic, and to identify key elements that could potentially explain differences in screening for and disclosure of DV. The PRICOV-19 data of 4295 GP practices from 33 countries were included in the analyses, with practices nested in countries. Two stepwise forward clustered ordinal logistic regressions were performed. Only 11% of the GPs reported (much) more disclosure of DV by patients during COVID-19, and 12% reported having screened for DV (much). Most significant associations with screening for and disclosure of DV concerned general (pro)active communication. However, (pro)active communication was performed less frequently for DV than for health conditions, which might indicate that GPs are insufficiently aware of the general magnitude of DV and its impact on patients and society, and its approach/management. Thus, professional education and training for GPs about DV seems highly and urgently needed.

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Ines Keygnaert

Link to publication

Open link


ijerph-20-03519-v2.pdf (open)

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