Universal screening for intimate partner violence: a systematic review

J Marital Fam Ther. 2011 Jul;37(3):355-69. doi: 10.1111/j.1752-0606.2009.00179.x. Epub 2009 Dec 10.


Intimate partner violence (IPV) is known to be prevalent among therapy-seeking populations. Yet, despite a growing understanding of the dynamics of IPV and of the acceptability of screening, universal screening practices have not been systematically adopted in family therapy settings. A rapidly growing body of research data-almost entirely conducted in medical settings-has investigated attitudes and practices regarding universal screening for IPV. This article is a systematic review of the IPV universal screening research literature. The review summarizes literature related to IPV screening rates and practices, factors associated with provider screening practice, the role of training and institutional support on screening practice, impact of screening on disclosure rates, client beliefs and preferences for screening, and key safety considerations and screening competencies. Implications for family therapy and recommendations for further inquiry and screening model development are provided.

Publication types

  • Review
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • American Medical Association
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Mass Screening / methods
  • Mass Screening / trends*
  • Patient Acceptance of Health Care / psychology
  • Primary Health Care / methods
  • Primary Health Care / standards
  • Primary Health Care / trends*
  • Self Disclosure
  • Sexual Partners / psychology*
  • Spouse Abuse / diagnosis*
  • United States