Screening for Intimate Partner Violence

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Intimate partner violence (IPV) is a serious concern for women that is associated with significant adverse health effects. Routine screening for IPV is recommended, but there are many barriers to screening that have been identified by providers, including discomfort, lack of training, and not knowing how to respond to a positive screen. This article reviews IPV screening and appropriate techniques for responding to a positive screen. IPV screening best practices include using a systematic protocol, developing a screening script, using a validated screening tool, and considerations for privacy and mandatory reporting. Responding to a positive screen should include acknowledging the experience, asking if the woman desires help, offering support and referrals, encouraging safety planning, and completing additional assessments to determine level of danger and to identify any comorbidities. Using these techniques along with therapeutic communication may increase IPV identification and create an environment in which women feel empowered to get help.

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