A Trauma Center-Based Study for Victims of Domestic Violence: Protecting Women of Richmond and Surrounding Counties

Hallie T. Smith, Sydney V. Svendsen, Brittany C. Fields, Alexandra Ellise D. Patterson, Melissa J. Tetzlaff-Bemiller, Elizabeth D Fox, Andrew G Lawson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Introduction: Domestic violence (DV) is a major health issue on both a national and global scale. In Richmond County, Georgia, there are 18.1 calls per 1000 women for DV, exceeding the national average of 5.9 and Georgia average of 15.3 calls per 1000 women. The goal of the study is to map epidemiologic and spatial trends in communities of DV survivors thereby assessing the feasibility of a prospective intervention initiative for high-risk areas. Methods: In partnership with “SafeHomes”, a local women’s shelter, a retrospective review of physical addresses was compiled from first-time residential clients 18 and older from January 1, 2019 to December 31, 2019. Hot zones were overlaid with Census tracts to assess sociodemographic correlates including race, ethnicity, age, poverty, education, and employment status. Results: From all records (n = 85), 5 hot zones were identified. Analysis of census tract data revealed minority predominance in all hot zones, in addition to an unemployment rate above the state average (23%, 12%, 8%, 5%, and 19%, respectively, vs 3.4%). Conclusion: DV affects both the inner city and suburban areas of Richmond County. Hot zone frequency was disproportionately increased in the urban center where community demographics showed minority predominance, especially of African-Americans. These hot zones also have more individuals living below the federal poverty line and experience unemployment rates greater than the state and national average of 3.4 and 3.5, respectively. This study demonstrated that mapping domestic violence epidemiologic and spatial trends is possible, allowing for targeted support and intervention to reduce the rate of domestic violence.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalAmerican Surgeon
StateAccepted/In press - 2022


  • domestic violence
  • domestic violence hot zones
  • geo-mapping

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery


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