Research Article| Volume 58, ISSUE 2, P185-189, February 2020

Maxillofacial injuries associated with domestic violence: experience at a major trauma centre

Published:December 14, 2019DOI:


      Domestic violence continues to be a global public health issue, and facial injuries in these cases are common with a reported incidence of up to 94%. Our aims were to identify patients with facial injuries caused by domestic violence, and to find out how confident members of the oral and maxillofacial surgical (OMFS) team were at assessing them. In this 18-month retrospective study of patients seen at King’s College Hospital we identified 18 and obtained details on sex, age, nature of maxillofacial injury, mechanism of injury, time to presentation, and alleged assailant, from their electronic records. Most of the patients were female and the mean (range) age was 28 (16-44) years. In 10 cases, the alleged assailant was the patient’s current partner. A total of 15 patients presented on the same day as their injury, and only 3 the following day. Punching was the most common mechanism (n = 13) followed by use of a weapon. We also circulated a questionnaire among the OMFS team to gain an insight into their attitudes regarding screening for domestic violence. Most OMFS clinicians were only “somewhat confident” at recognising and asking about domestic violence, and few were “very” or “extremely confident”. Targeted training for frontline staff in OMFS teams is likely to increase their confidence to identify and manage these patients, and to refer them appropriately.


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