ACOG Committee Opinion No. 518: Intimate partner violence

Obstet Gynecol. 2012 Feb;119(2 Pt 1):412-7. doi: 10.1097/AOG.0b013e318249ff74.


Intimate partner violence (IPV) is a significant yet preventable public health problem that affects millions of women regardless of age, economic status, race, religion, ethnicity, sexual orientation, or educational background. Individuals who are subjected to IPV may have lifelong consequences, including emotional trauma, lasting physical impairment, chronic health problems, and even death. Although women of all ages may experience IPV, it is most prevalent among women of reproductive age and contributes to gynecologic disorders, pregnancy complications, unintended pregnancy, and sexually transmitted infections, including human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). Obstetrician–gynecologists are in a unique position to assess and provide support for women who experience IPV because of the nature of the patient–physician relationship and the many opportunities for intervention that occur during the course of pregnancy, family planning, annual examinations, and other women’s health visits. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has recommended that IPV screening and counseling should be a core part of women’s preventive health visits. Physicians should screen all women for IPV at periodic intervals, including during obstetric care (at the first prenatal visit, at least once per trimester, and at the postpartum checkup), offer ongoing support, and review available prevention and referral options. Resources are available in many communities to assist women who experience IPV.

MeSH terms

  • Counseling
  • Female
  • Gynecology*
  • Humans
  • Mass Screening
  • Obstetrics*
  • Patient Education as Topic
  • Physician's Role*
  • Spouse Abuse / diagnosis*
  • Vulnerable Populations