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Home is Where The Hurt Is

23 June 2010

Although the focus of Health and Safety legislation is on safety in the workplace, there is no place like home – at least not as far as getting injured is concerned.

Domestic injuries are often the result of spousal abuse:and these kinds of injuries tend to be more severe than other types of domestic injuries and are concentrated around the head, face, and upper body.

That’s one of the key findings emerging from award-winning international research from leading University of Ulster academic Professor Vani Borooah of the School of Economics.

Using Australian data from the Queensland Injuries Surveillance Unit (QISU), which tracks all injuries presenting to the A&E Departments of Queensland hospitals, Professor Borooah and his co-author John Mangan of the University of Queensland found that:

·        Victims of spousal abuse routinely refuse hospital admission even though medical staff advise them their injuries are serious enough to warrant it

·        There is a high correlation between the consumption of alcohol and the incidence of spousal abuse

·        Working women who gained a measure of economic independence from their husbands were much less likely to suffer abuse than women who did not work

·         Spousal assault injuries tended to be under reported because of shame and fear of retribution factors. Using an ingenious methodology based upon Bayesian updating, they estimated that reported levels underestimated the true level of abuse by over 33%.

·      There was an unjustifiable tendency, the authors said, to underplay the severity, and underestimate the number, of spousal assaults.

Professor Borooah said "The  research showes the capacity of economic and statistical analysis to illuminate our understanding of issues like spousal abuse, which to the casual observer, could not be further removed from the world of economics."

The research report  – ‘Home is where the hurt is: an econometric analysis of injuries caused by spousal assault’ was published in Applied Economics, 2009, 41, 2779–2787

The article was selected as one of the 50 best articles published in 2009 (out of over 15,000 considered) in management and won an Emerald Management Reviews Citation of Excellence.

Debbie Spurgeon, Emerald Executive Editor, said that receiving a Citation of Excellence Award was a truly prestigious achievement: “There are over 15,000 article reviews added annually to our database – and so being recognised as one of the top 50 is a real accolade.”