Intimate Partner Violence: State Law Issues

August 2, 2022 | Ambulatory Care Risk Management


​​Most states have enacted mandatory reporting laws requiring reporting of specified injuries and wounds as well as suspected abuse or domestic violence for individuals being treated by a healthcare professional. These laws explicitly supersede privilege regarding provider-patient information. They are also distinct from reporting laws for abuse of children, older individuals, and vulnerable adults, in that the individuals to be protected are not limited to a specific group. Rather, the laws pertain to all individuals to whom specific healthcare professionals provide treatment or medical care, or those who present to a healthcare facility (1).

Mandatory reporting laws vary from state to state—and not all states have them—so it is critical that providers become well versed in the laws for all states in which they render treatment. Requirements of the states that do have such laws generally fall into one of the following three categories, all of which could be implicated in intimate partner violence (IPV) (1):

Mandatory reporting laws are intended to enhance patient safety, improve provider response to domestic violence, hold batterers accountable, and improve data collection and documentation on IPV. However, the Association of Women's Health, Obstetric and Neonatal Nurses (AWHONN), the World Health Organization (WHO), and victim advocates, oppose mandatory reporting laws...

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