HealthDay News — The incidence and severity of physical intimate partner violence (IPV) have been higher during the COVID-19 pandemic than in the previous three years, according to a study published online Aug. 13 in Radiology.

Babina Gosangi, M.D., from Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, and colleagues compared the demographics, clinical presentation, injuries, and radiological findings of patients reporting physical abuse from IPV between March 11 and May 3, 2020, to those of the same period during the previous three years.

The researchers compared 26 physical IPV victims from 2020 with 42 from 2017 to 2019. During the pandemic, there was a decrease seen in the overall number of patients reporting IPV; however, the incidence of physical IPV was 1.8 times greater. The total number of deep injuries was 28 and 16 during 2020 and 2017 to 2019, respectively, corresponding to 1.1 deep injuries per victim during 2020 versus 0.4 in 2017 to 2019. The incidence of high-risk abuse defined by mechanism was twofold greater. During the COVID-19 pandemic, patients with IPV were more likely to be ethnically white compared with patients in previous years (65 versus 26 percent).

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“An overall lower number of IPV victims with a greater number and severity of physical abuse is suggestive of victims reaching out to health care services in their later stage of abuse due to fear of COVID-19,” the authors write.

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