Physician Organizations Call for Increased Screening of Intimate Partner Violence

February 10, 2012 | Strategic Insights for Ambulatory Care


Physicians should screen all women for intimate partner violence at periodic intervals, including during obstetric care; offer ongoing support; and review available prevention and referral options, states a February 2012 committee opinion from the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG). Although women of all ages may experience intimate partner violence, it is most prevalent among women of reproductive age and contributes to gynecologic disorders, pregnancy complications, unintended pregnancy, and sexually transmitted infections, including HIV. Because obstetricians and gynecologists are in a unique position to assess and provide support for women, ACOG recommends that they screen their patients for signs of abuse at the first prenatal visit, at least once per trimester, and at the postpartum checkup. In related news, the American Academy of Neurology (AAN) has also issued a position statement on the need to screen for intimate partner violence, which was published online, January 25, 2012, in Neurology. In the statement, AAN notes that more than 90% of all injuries from intimate partner violence occur to the head, face, or neck region, and that the injuries may be associated with traumatic brain injury.

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