Provider Screening and Counseling for Intimate Partner Violence: A Systematic Review of Practices and Influencing Factors

Trauma Violence Abuse. 2017 Dec;18(5):479-495. doi: 10.1177/1524838016637080. Epub 2016 Mar 31.


Background: Primary care providers have an important role in identifying survivors of intimate partner violence (IPV) and providing safety options. Routine screening rates by providers have been consistently low, indicating a need to better understand providers' practices to ensure the translation of policy into clinical practice.

Aim: This systematic review examines common themes regarding provider screening practices and influencing factors on these practices.

Method: A literature search was conducted using the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses guidelines. The search focused on research articles which met the following criteria: (1) health-care providers as participants, (2) provider reports on screening and counseling practices for IPV, and (3) were in English or Spanish.

Results: A total of 35 studies were included in the review. Across studies, providers commonly acknowledged the importance of IPV screening yet often used only selective screening. Influencing factors on clinic, provider, and patient levels shaped the process and outcomes of provider screening practices. Overall, a great deal of variability exists in regard to provider screening practices. This variability may be due to a lack of clear system-level guidance for these practices and a lack of research regarding best practices.

Conclusions: These findings suggest the necessity of more facilitative, clearly defined, and perhaps mandatory strategies to fulfill policy requirements. Future research directions are outlined to assist with these goals.

Keywords: counseling; intimate partner violence; providers; screening.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Review
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Counseling
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Intimate Partner Violence*
  • Male
  • Mass Screening / statistics & numerical data*
  • Physicians, Primary Care / psychology*
  • Primary Health Care / methods