Researchers conducted this study to examine the prevalence and nature of physical and sexual partner abuse experienced by women who request pregnancy termination (TOP).

The study setting was a pregnancy counseling clinic located within a large district general hospital in England’s northwest. A sample of 312 women attending the clinic was assessed.

Participants returned three hundred and twelve questionnaires. The prevalence rate of intimate partner abuse at some stage in the woman’s life was 35.1%; 19.5% had experienced actual physical abuse in the past year, and 3.7% had experienced forced sexual intercourse in the past year. Of the latter, in over half of the cases, this may have resulted in the current pregnancy. A total of 6.6% of women in this study are currently living in fear.

The anonymity of the survey and the method of implementation encouraged an excellent response rate. The prevalence of physical abuse was higher than that reported in previous studies. 

The study concluded that many women requesting a TOP have been, or still are, in violent relationships. Some women may attend with an unwanted conception following a sexual assault by their current or previous intimate partner.