Applied Evidence

It’s time to start asking all patients about intimate partner violence

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Although our immediate approach to IPV screening, safety planning, and referral with understudied patient populations might be informed by what we have learned from the experiences of heterosexual women in abusive relationships, such a practice is unsustainable. Unless we expand our scope of screening to all patients, it is unlikely that we will develop the evidence base necessary to 1) warrant stronger IPV screening recommendations for patient groups apart from women of childbearing age, let alone 2) demonstrate the need for additional community resources, and 3) provide comprehensive care in family practice of comparable quality.

The benefits of screening go beyond the individual patient

Screening for violence in the relationship does not take long; the value of asking about its presence in a relationship might offer benefits beyond the individual patient by raising awareness and providing the field of study with more data to increase attention and resources for under-researched and underserved populations. Screening might also combat the stigma that perpetuates the silence of many who deserve access to care.

Joel G. Sprunger, PhD, Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Neuroscience, University of Cincinnati College of Medicine, 260 Stetson St, Suite 3200, Cincinnati OH 45219;

The authors thank Jeffrey M. Girard, PhD, and Daniel C. Williams, PhD, for their input on the design and content, respectively, of the IPASSPRT screening materials; the authors of the DA-5 and the HITS screening tools, particularly Jacquelyn Campbell, PhD, RN, FAAN, and Kevin Sherin, MD, MPH, MBA, respectively, for permission to include these measures in this article and for their support of its goals; and The Journal of Family Practice’s peer reviewers for their thoughtful feedback throughout the prepublication process.

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