Intimate partner violence: office screening for victims and perpetrators of IPV.FP Essent. 2013 Sep; 412:11-7.FE
Intimate partner violence (IPV) affects more than 12 million individuals annually. Power and control are central concepts underlying abusive relationships. Physicians may see IPV victims, perpetrators, and their children for annual examinations, as well as for injuries and health conditions associated with abuse. In 2013, the US Preventive Services Task Force recommended that women of childbearing age (ie, 14 to 46 years) be screened for IPV. Brief, validated screening tools, such as the 4-item Hurt, Insult, Threaten, and Scream (HITS), can be used to facilitate screening. Physicians should always assess patients whose medical histories or presenting symptoms or injuries are consistent with abuse. Risk factors for IPV and consequences of abuse include general health conditions (eg, asthma, irritable bowel syndrome), reproductive issues (eg, gynecologic disorders, unintended pregnancies), psychological conditions (eg, depression, sleep disturbances), and risky health behaviors (eg, substance use, poor health care adherence). Tools for identifying perpetrators are under investigation. To prepare the practice to address IPV, physicians should educate themselves and staff and learn about community and national resources. By identifying and responding to IPV, clinicians may be able to reduce IPV and interrupt the intergenerational cycle of violence.