Intimate partner violence

Am Fam Physician. 2011 May 15;83(10):1165-72.


Intimate partner violence is a common source of physical, psychological, and emotional morbidity. In the United States, approximately 1.5 million women and 834,700 men annually are raped and/or physically assaulted by an intimate partner. Women are more likely than men to be injured, sexually assaulted, or murdered by an intimate partner. Studies suggest that one in four women is at lifetime risk. Physicians can use therapeutic relationships with patients to identify intimate partner violence, make brief office interventions, offer continuity of care, and refer them for subspecialty and community-based evaluation, treatment, and advocacy. Primary care physicians are ideally positioned to work from a preventive framework and address at-risk behaviors. Strategies for identifying intimate partner violence include asking relevant questions in patient histories, screening during periodic health examinations, and case finding in patients with suggestive signs or symptoms. Discussion needs to occur confidentially. Physicians should be aware of increased child abuse risk and negative effects on children's health observed in families with intimate partner violence. Physicians also should be familiar with local and national resources available to these patients.

MeSH terms

  • Battered Women* / psychology
  • Battered Women* / statistics & numerical data
  • Family Practice
  • Female
  • Government Agencies
  • Humans
  • Interpersonal Relations*
  • Male
  • Mandatory Reporting
  • Organizations
  • Patient Education as Topic* / methods
  • Patient Education as Topic* / standards
  • Patient Education as Topic* / trends
  • Physician's Role*
  • Physicians, Family
  • Physicians, Primary Care
  • Practice Guidelines as Topic
  • Practice Patterns, Physicians' / standards
  • Practice Patterns, Physicians' / trends
  • Safety
  • Sexual Partners* / psychology
  • Spouse Abuse* / diagnosis
  • Spouse Abuse* / prevention & control
  • Spouse Abuse* / psychology
  • Spouse Abuse* / statistics & numerical data
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • United States / epidemiology