Evaluating Intimate Partner Violence

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PurposeTo describe the incidence, assessment, and management of intimate partner violence (IPV) from a cultural perspective emphasizing the values, strengths, and health care needs of African-American women.Data SourcesReview of the published scientific literature, U.S. Bureau of Justice Statistics and the National Crime Victimization Survey (NCVS) supplemented with hypothetical cases.ConclusionsViolence is a social and public health emergency affecting over 10% of the population during their lives and 22% of women who are physically assaulted by an intimate. Roughly 3 million to 4.4 million women report being battered annually, although this is a low estimate. Neither gender nor age nor sexual orientation protects one from IPV. Violent crime causes 2.2 million known injuries with a huge cost in hospital days and other expenses.Implications for PracticeWomen often hesitate to report violence; health care professionals detect as few as 5% of battered women. Women suffer for months and years before accurate diagnosis. Clinicians need to be vigilant in case finding, education, prevention, and treatment. Cultural differences in values and beliefs, and behavioral norms influence evaluation, treatment, and referral.

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