Reproductive and sexual health of Australian adolescents exposed to family and domestic violence

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Background: There is a dearth of research investigating sexually transmitted infections (STIs) in children exposed to family and domestic violence (FDV). Further, there is no research on terminations of pregnancy in children exposed to FDV. Methods: This retrospective cohort study used linked administrative data from Western Australia to investigate whether exposure to FDV is associated with a risk of hospitalisations for STIs and terminations of pregnancy in adolescents. This study involved children born from 1987 to 2010 whose mother was a victim of FDV. Identification of family and domestic violence was from two sources: police and hospital records. This approach provided an exposed cohort of 16 356 and a non-exposed cohort of 41 996. Dependant variables were hospitalisations for pregnancy terminations and STIs in children aged from 13 up to 18 years of age. The primary explanatory variable was exposure to FDV. Multivariable Cox regression was used to investigate the association of FDV exposure and the outcomes. Results: Following adjustment for sociodemographic and clinical factors, children exposed to FDV had an increased risk of hospitalisations for STIs (HR 1.49, 95% CI 1.15 to 1.92) and terminations of pregnancy (HR 1.34, 95% CI 1.09 to 1.63) as an adolescent than non-exposed peers. Conclusion: Children exposed to FDV are at an increased risk of hospitalisation for STI and termination of pregnancy as an adolescent. Effective interventions are needed to support children exposed to FDV.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere201684
Pages (from-to)245-253
Number of pages9
JournalBMJ Sexual and Reproductive Health
Issue number4
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 12 Oct 2023


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