Intimate Partner Violence

Am Fam Physician. 2016 Oct 15;94(8):646-651.


Intimate partner violence (IPV) is a prevalent worldwide health problem, affecting women more commonly than men. IPV is underreported and underrecognized by health care professionals. Even when IPV is recognized, it remains an underaddressed issue. In addition to physical injury and death, IPV causes significant physical and psychiatric health problems commonly treated by family physicians. The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force recommends screening all female patients of childbearing age for IPV. There are several brief screening tools that have been proven effective at detecting IPV and that can be used in the office setting. Identification of IPV allows the physician to provide better care and improves health outcomes for the survivor. Family physician offices should provide patients with local and national resources. Thorough documentation of injuries sustained from abuse is critical. Although caring for patients unready to leave an abusive relationship may be challenging for the physician, continuous, supportive care improves patient outcomes.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Clinical Competence
  • Family Practice* / education
  • Family Practice* / methods
  • Female
  • Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice
  • Humans
  • Intimate Partner Violence* / prevention & control
  • Intimate Partner Violence* / statistics & numerical data
  • Mass Screening* / methods
  • Mass Screening* / psychology
  • Physician's Role*
  • Prevalence
  • Spouse Abuse* / diagnosis
  • Spouse Abuse* / prevention & control
  • Spouse Abuse* / psychology
  • Spouse Abuse* / statistics & numerical data