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1.  Associations between Intimate Partner Violence and Termination of Pregnancy: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis 
PLoS Medicine  2014;11(1):e1001581.
Lucy Chappell and colleagues conduct a systematic review and meta analysis to investigate a possible association between intimate partner violence and termination of pregnancy.
Please see later in the article for the Editors' Summary
Background
Intimate partner violence (IPV) and termination of pregnancy (TOP) are global health concerns, but their interaction is undetermined. The aim of this study was to determine whether there is an association between IPV and TOP.
Methods and Findings
A systematic review based on a search of Medline, Embase, PsycINFO, and Ovid Maternity and Infant Care from each database's inception to 21 September 2013 for peer-reviewed articles of any design and language found 74 studies regarding women who had undergone TOP and had experienced at least one domain (physical, sexual, or emotional) of IPV. Prevalence of IPV and association between IPV and TOP were meta-analysed. Sample sizes ranged from eight to 33,385 participants. Worldwide, rates of IPV in the preceding year in women undergoing TOP ranged from 2.5% to 30%. Lifetime prevalence by meta-analysis was shown to be 24.9% (95% CI 19.9% to 30.6%); heterogeneity was high (I2>90%), and variation was not explained by study design, quality, or size, or country gross national income per capita. IPV, including history of rape, sexual assault, contraceptive sabotage, and coerced decision-making, was associated with TOP, and with repeat TOPs. By meta-analysis, partner not knowing about the TOP was shown to be significantly associated with IPV (pooled odds ratio 2.97, 95% CI 2.39 to 3.69). Women in violent relationships were more likely to have concealed the TOP from their partner than those who were not. Demographic factors including age, ethnicity, education, marital status, income, employment, and drug and alcohol use showed no strong or consistent mediating effect. Few long-term outcomes were studied. Women welcomed the opportunity to disclose IPV and be offered help. Limitations include study heterogeneity, potential underreporting of both IPV and TOP in primary data sources, and inherent difficulties in validation.
Conclusions
IPV is associated with TOP. Novel public health approaches are required to prevent IPV. TOP services provide an opportune health-based setting to design and test interventions.
Please see later in the article for the Editors' Summary
Editors' Summary
Background
Intimate partner violence (sometimes referred to as domestic violence) is one of the commonest forms of violence against women and is a global health problem. The World Health Organization defines intimate partner violence as any act of physical, psychological, or sexual aggression or any controlling behavior (for example, restriction of access to assistance) perpetrated by the woman's current or past intimate partner. Although men also experience it, intimate partner violence is overwhelmingly experienced by women, particularly when repeated or severe. Studies indicate that the prevalence (the percentage of a population affected by a condition) of intimate partner violence varies widely within and between countries: the prevalence of intimate partner violence among women ranges from 15% in Japan to 71% in Ethiopia, and the lifetime prevalence of rape (forced sex) within intimate relationships ranges from 5.9% to 42% across the world, for example. Overall, a third of women experience intimate partner violence at some time during their lifetimes. The health consequences of such violence include physical injury, depression, suicidal behavior, and gastrointestinal disorders.
Why Was This Study Done?
Intimate partner violence can also lead to gynecological disorders (conditions affecting the female reproductive organs), unwanted pregnancy, premature labour and birth, and sexually transmitted infections. Because violence may begin or intensify during pregnancy, some countries recommend routine questioning about intimate partner violence during antenatal care. However, women seeking termination of pregnancy (induced abortion) are not routinely asked about intimate partner violence. Every year, many women worldwide terminate a pregnancy. Nearly half of these terminations are unsafe, and complications arising from unsafe abortions are responsible for more than 10% of maternal deaths (deaths from pregnancy or childbirth-related complications). It is important to know whether intimate partner violence and termination of pregnancy are associated in order to develop effective strategies to deal with both these global health concerns. Here, the researchers conducted a systematic review and meta-analysis to investigate the associations between intimate partner violence and termination or pregnancy. A systematic review identifies all the research on a given topic using predefined criteria; meta-analysis combines the results of several studies.
What Did the Researchers Do and Find?
The researchers identified 74 studies that provided information about experiences of intimate partner violence among women who had had a termination of pregnancy. Data in these studies indicated that, worldwide, intimate partner violence rates among women undergoing termination ranged from 2.5% to 30% in the preceding year and from 14% to 40% over their lifetime. In the meta-analysis, the lifetime prevalence of intimate partner violence was 24.9% among termination-seeking populations. The identified studies provided evidence that intimate partner violence was associated with termination and with repeat termination. In one study, for example, women presenting for a third termination were more than two and a half times more likely to have a history of physical or sexual violence than women presenting for their first termination. Moreover, according to the meta-analysis, women in violent relationships were three times as likely to conceal a termination from their partner as women in non-violent relationships. Finally, the studies indicated that women undergoing terminations of pregnancy welcomed the opportunity to disclose their experiences of intimate partner violence and to be offered help.
What Do These Findings Mean?
These findings indicate that intimate partner violence is associated with termination of pregnancy and that a woman's partner not knowing about the termination is a risk factor for intimate partner violence among women seeking termination. Overall, the researchers' findings support the concept that violence can lead to pregnancy and to subsequent termination of pregnancy, and that there may be a repetitive cycle of abuse and pregnancy. The accuracy of these findings is limited by heterogeneity (variability) among the included studies, by the likelihood of underreporting of both intimate partner violence and termination in the included studies, and by lack of validation of reports of violence through, for example, police reports. Nevertheless, health-care professionals should consider the possibility that women seeking termination of pregnancy may be experiencing intimate partner violence. In trying to prevent repeat terminations, health-care professionals should be aware that while focusing on preventing conception may reduce the chances of a woman becoming pregnant, she may still be vulnerable to abuse. Finally, given the clear associations between intimate partner violence and termination of pregnancy, the researchers suggest that termination services represent an appropriate setting in which to test interventions designed to reduce intimate partner violence.
Additional Information
Please access these websites via the online version of this summary at http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pmed.1001581.
The World Health organization provides detailed information about intimate partner violence and about termination of pregnancy (some information available in several languages)
MedlinePlus provides links to other resources about intimate partner violence and about termination of pregnancy (in English and Spanish)
The World Bank has a webpage that discusses the role of the health sector in preventing gender-based violence and a webpage with links to other resources about gender-based violence
The Gender and Health Research Unit of the South African Medical Research Council provides links to further resources about intimate partner violence (research briefs/policy briefs/fact sheets/research reports)
DIVERHSE (Domestic & Interpersonal Violence: Effecting Responses in the Health Sector in Europe) is a European forum for health professionals, nongovernmental organizations, policy-makers, and academics to share their expertise and good practice in developing and evaluating interventions to address violence against women and children in a variety of health-care settings
London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine's Gender Violence and Health Centre also has a number of research resources
The UK National Health Service Choices website provides personal stories of intimate partner violence during pregnancy
The March of Dimes provides information on identifying intimate partner violence during pregnancy and making a safety plan
doi:10.1371/journal.pmed.1001581
PMCID: PMC3883805  PMID: 24409101
2.  Associations between Intimate Partner Violence and Health among Men Who Have Sex with Men: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis 
PLoS Medicine  2014;11(3):e1001609.
Ana Maria Buller and colleagues review 19 studies and estimate the associations between the experience and perpetration of intimate partner violence and various health conditions and sexual risk behaviors among men who have sex with men.
Please see later in the article for the Editors' Summary
Background
Intimate partner violence (IPV) among men who have sex with men (MSM) is a significant problem. Little is known about the association between IPV and health for MSM. We aimed to estimate the association between experience and perpetration of IPV, and various health conditions and sexual risk behaviours among MSM.
Methods and Findings
We searched 13 electronic databases up to 23 October 2013 to identify research studies reporting the odds of health conditions or sexual risk behaviours for MSM experiencing or perpetrating IPV. Nineteen studies with 13,797 participants were included in the review. Random effects meta-analyses were performed to estimate pooled odds ratios (ORs). Exposure to IPV as a victim was associated with increased odds of substance use (OR = 1.88, 95% CIOR 1.59–2.22, I2 = 46.9%, 95% CII2 0%–78%), being HIV positive (OR = 1.46, 95% CIOR 1.26–1.69, I2 = 0.0%, 95% CII2 0%–62%), reporting depressive symptoms (OR = 1.52, 95% CIOR 1.24–1.86, I2 = 9.9%, 95% CII2 0%–91%), and engagement in unprotected anal sex (OR = 1.72, 95% CIOR 1.44–2.05, I2 = 0.0%, 95% CII2 0%–68%). Perpetration of IPV was associated with increased odds of substance use (OR = 1.99, 95% CIOR 1.33–2.99, I2 = 73.1%). These results should be interpreted with caution because of methodological weaknesses such as the lack of validated tools to measure IPV in this population and the diversity of recall periods and key outcomes in the identified studies.
Conclusions
MSM who are victims of IPV are more likely to engage in substance use, suffer from depressive symptoms, be HIV positive, and engage in unprotected anal sex. MSM who perpetrate IPV are more likely to engage in substance use. Our results highlight the need for research into effective interventions to prevent IPV in MSM, as well as the importance of providing health care professionals with training in how to address issues of IPV among MSM and the need to raise awareness of local and national support services.
Please see later in the article for the Editors' Summary
Editors' Summary
Background
Intimate partner violence (IPV, also called domestic violence) is a common and widespread problem. Globally, nearly a third of women are affected by IPV at some time in their life, but the prevalence of IPV (the proportion of the population affected by IPV) varies widely between countries. In central sub-Saharan Africa, for example, nearly two-thirds of women experience IPV during their lifetime, whereas in East Asia only one-sixth of women are affected. IPV is defined as physical, sexual, or emotional harm that is perpetrated on an individual by a current or former partner or spouse. Physical violence includes hitting, kicking, and other types of physical force; sexual violence means forcing a partner to take part in a sex act when the partner does not consent; and emotional abuse includes threatening a partner by, for example, stalking them or preventing them from seeing their family. The adverse effects of IPV for women include physical injury, depression and suicidal behaviour, and sexual and reproductive health problems such as HIV infection and unwanted pregnancies.
Why Was This Study Done?
IPV affects men as well as women. Men can be subjected to IPV either by a female partner or by a male partner in the case of men who have sex with men (MSM, a term that encompasses homosexual, bisexual, and transgender men, and heterosexual men who sometimes have sex with men). Recent reviews suggest that the prevalence of IPV in same-sex couples is as high as the prevalence of IPV for women in opposite-sex relationships: reported lifetime prevalences of IPV in homosexual male relationships range between 15.4% and 51%. Little is known, however, about the adverse health effects of IPV on MSM. It is important to understand how IPV affects the health of MSM so that appropriate services and interventions can be provided to support MSM who experience IPV. In this systematic review (a study that identifies all the research on a given topic using predefined criteria) and meta-analysis (a study that combines the results of several studies using statistical methods), the researchers investigate the associations between the experience and perpetration of IPV and various health conditions and sexual risk behaviours among MSM.
What Did the Researchers Do and Find?
The researchers identified 19 studies that investigated associations between IPV and various health conditions or sexual risk behaviours (for example, unprotected anal sex, a risk factor for HIV infection) among MSM. The associations were expressed as odds ratios (ORs); an OR represents the odds (chances) that an outcome will occur given a particular exposure, compared to the odds of the outcome occurring in the absence of that exposure. The researchers estimated pooled ORs from the data in the individual studies using meta-analysis. The pooled lifetime prevalence of experiencing any IPV (which was measured in six studies) was 48%. Exposure to IPV as a victim was associated with an increased risk of substance (alcohol or drug) use (OR = 1.88, data from nine studies), reporting depressive symptoms (OR = 1.52, data from three studies), being HIV positive (OR = 1.46, data from ten studies), and engagement in unprotected sex (OR = 1.72, data from eight studies). Perpetration of IPV was associated with an increased risk of substance abuse (OR = 1.99, data from six studies).
What Do These Findings Mean?
These findings suggest that MSM frequently experience IPV and that exposure to IPV is associated with several adverse health conditions and sexual risk behaviours. There were insufficient data to estimate the lifetime prevalence of IPV perpetration among MSM, but these findings also reveal an association between IPV perpetration and substance use. The accuracy of these findings is limited by heterogeneity (variability) between the studies included in the meta-analyses, by the design of these studies, and by the small number of studies. Despite these and other limitations, these findings highlight the need to undertake research to identify interventions to prevent IPV among MSM and to learn more about the health effects of IPV among MSM. They highlight the importance of health care professionals being aware that IPV is a problem for MSM and of training these professionals to assess MSM for IPV. Finally, these results highlight the need to improve the availability and effectiveness of support services to which health care professionals can refer MSM experiencing or perpetrating IPV.
Additional Information
Please access these websites via the online version of this summary at http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pmed.1001609.
The World Health Organization provides detailed information on intimate partner violence
The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention provides information about IPV and a fact sheet on understanding IPV that includes links to further resources
The UK National Health Service Choices website has a webpage about domestic violence, which includes descriptions of personal experiences
The US National Domestic Violence Hotline provides confidential help and support to people experiencing IPV, including MSM; its website includes personal stories of IPV
The US Gay Men's Domestic Violence Project/GLBTQ Domestic Violence Project provides support and services to MSM experiencing IPV; its website includes some personal stories
The UK not-for-profit organization Respect runs two advice lines: the Men's Advice Line provides advice and support for men experiencing domestic violence and abuse and the Respect Phoneline provides advice for domestic violence perpetrators and for professionals who would like further information about services for those using violence/abuse in their intimate partner relationships
The UK not-for-profit organization ManKind Initiative also provides support for male victims of IPV
The UK not-for-profit organization Broken Rainbow UK provides help and support for lesbians and MSM experiencing IPV
MedlinePlus provides links to other resources about domestic violence (in English and Spanish)
The UK charity Galop gives advice and support to people who have experienced biphobia, homophobia, transphobia, sexual violence, or domestic abuse
doi:10.1371/journal.pmed.1001609
PMCID: PMC3942318  PMID: 24594975
3.  Factors influencing identification of and response to intimate partner violence: a survey of physicians and nurses 
BMC Public Health  2007;7:12.
Background
Intimate partner violence against women (IPV) has been identified as a serious public health problem. Although the health care system is an important site for identification and intervention, there have been challenges in determining how health care professionals can best address this issue in practice. We surveyed nurses and physicians in 2004 regarding their attitudes and behaviours with respect to IPV, including whether they routinely inquire about IPV, as well as potentially relevant barriers, facilitators, experiential, and practice-related factors.
Methods
A modified Dillman Tailored Design approach was used to survey 1000 nurses and 1000 physicians by mail in Ontario, Canada. Respondents were randomly selected from professional directories and represented practice areas pre-identified from the literature as those most likely to care for women at the point of initial IPV disclosure: family practice, obstetrics and gynecology, emergency care, maternal/newborn care, and public health. The survey instrument had a case-based scenario followed by 43 questions asking about behaviours and resources specific to woman abuse.
Results
In total, 931 questionnaires were returned; 597 by nurses (59.7% response rate) and 328 by physicians (32.8% response rate). Overall, 32% of nurses and 42% of physicians reported routinely initiating the topic of IPV in practice. Principal components analysis identified eight constructs related to whether routine inquiry was conducted: preparedness, self-confidence, professional supports, abuse inquiry, practitioner consequences of asking, comfort following disclosure, practitioner lack of control, and practice pressures. Each construct was analyzed according to a number of related issues, including clinician training and experience with woman abuse, area of practice, and type of health care provider. Preparedness emerged as a key construct related to whether respondents routinely initiated the topic of IPV.
Conclusion
The present study provides new insight into the factors that facilitate and impede clinicians' decisions to address the issue of IPV with their female patients. Inadequate preparation, both educational and experiential, emerged as a key barrier to routine inquiry, as did the importance of the "real world" pressures associated with the daily context of primary care practice.
doi:10.1186/1471-2458-7-12
PMCID: PMC1796870  PMID: 17250771
4.  Intimate Partner Violence and Incident Depressive Symptoms and Suicide Attempts: A Systematic Review of Longitudinal Studies 
PLoS Medicine  2013;10(5):e1001439.
Karen Devries and colleagues conduct a systematic review of longitudinal studies to evaluate the direction of association between symptoms of depression and intimate partner violence.
Please see later in the article for the Editors' Summary
Background
Depression and suicide are responsible for a substantial burden of disease globally. Evidence suggests that intimate partner violence (IPV) experience is associated with increased risk of depression, but also that people with mental disorders are at increased risk of violence. We aimed to investigate the extent to which IPV experience is associated with incident depression and suicide attempts, and vice versa, in both women and men.
Methods and Findings
We conducted a systematic review and meta-analysis of longitudinal studies published before February 1, 2013. More than 22,000 records from 20 databases were searched for studies examining physical and/or sexual intimate partner or dating violence and symptoms of depression, diagnosed major depressive disorder, dysthymia, mild depression, or suicide attempts. Random effects meta-analyses were used to generate pooled odds ratios (ORs). Sixteen studies with 36,163 participants met our inclusion criteria. All studies included female participants; four studies also included male participants. Few controlled for key potential confounders other than demographics. All but one depression study measured only depressive symptoms. For women, there was clear evidence of an association between IPV and incident depressive symptoms, with 12 of 13 studies showing a positive direction of association and 11 reaching statistical significance; pooled OR from six studies = 1.97 (95% CI 1.56–2.48, I2 = 50.4%, pheterogeneity = 0.073). There was also evidence of an association in the reverse direction between depressive symptoms and incident IPV (pooled OR from four studies = 1.93, 95% CI 1.51–2.48, I2 = 0%, p = 0.481). IPV was also associated with incident suicide attempts. For men, evidence suggested that IPV was associated with incident depressive symptoms, but there was no clear evidence of an association between IPV and suicide attempts or depression and incident IPV.
Conclusions
In women, IPV was associated with incident depressive symptoms, and depressive symptoms with incident IPV. IPV was associated with incident suicide attempts. In men, few studies were conducted, but evidence suggested IPV was associated with incident depressive symptoms. There was no clear evidence of association with suicide attempts.
Please see later in the article for the Editors' Summary
Editors' Summary
Background
Depression and suicide are responsible for a substantial proportion of the global disease burden. Depression—an overwhelming feeling of sadness and hopelessness that can last for months or years—affects more than 350 million people worldwide. It is the eleventh leading cause of global disability-adjusted life-years (a measure of overall disease burden), and it affects one in six people at some time during their lives. Globally, about a million people commit suicide every year, usually because they have depression or some other mental illness. Notably, in cross-sectional studies (investigations that look at a population at a single time point), experience of intimate partner violence (IPV, also called domestic violence) is strongly and consistently associated with both depressive disorders and suicide. IPV, like depression and suicide, is extremely common—in multi-country studies, 15%–71% of women report being physically assaulted at some time during their lifetime. IPV is defined as physical, sexual, or psychological harm by a current or former partner or spouse; men as well as women can be the victims of IPV.
Why Was This Study Done?
It may seem obvious to assume that IPV is causally related to subsequent depression and suicidal behavior. However, cross-sectional studies provide no information about causality, and it is possible that depression and/or suicide attempts cause subsequent IPV or that there are common risk factors for IPV, depression, and suicide. For example, individuals with depressive symptoms may be more accepting of partners with characteristics that predispose them to use violence, or early life exposure to violence may predispose individuals to both depression and choosing violent partners. Here, as part of the Global Burden of Disease Study 2010, the researchers investigate the extent to which experience of IPV is associated with subsequent depression and suicide attempts and vice versa in both men and women by undertaking a systematic review and meta-analysis of longitudinal studies that have examined IPV, depression, and suicide attempts. A systematic review uses predefined criteria to identify all the research on a given topic, meta-analysis combines the results of several studies, and longitudinal studies track people over time to investigate associations between specific characteristics and outcomes.
What Did the Researchers Do and Find?
The researchers identified 16 longitudinal studies involving a total of 36,163 participants that met their inclusion criteria. All the studies included women, but only four also included men. All the studies were undertaken in high- and middle-income countries. For women, 11 studies showed a statistically significant association (an association unlikely to have occurred by chance) between IPV and subsequent depressive symptoms. In a meta-analysis of six studies, experience of IPV nearly doubled the risk of women subsequently reporting depressive symptoms. In addition, there was evidence of an association in the reverse direction. In a meta-analysis of four studies, depressive symptoms nearly doubled the risk of women subsequently experiencing IPV. IPV was also associated with subsequent suicide attempts among women. For men, there was some evidence from two studies that IPV was associated with depressive symptoms but no evidence for an association between IPV and subsequent suicide attempt or between depressive symptoms and subsequent IPV.
What Do These Findings Mean?
These findings suggest that women who are exposed to IPV are at increased risk of subsequent depression and that women who are depressed are more likely to be at risk of IPV. They also provide evidence of an association between IPV and subsequent suicide attempt for women. The study provides little evidence for similar relationships among men, but additional studies are needed to confirm this finding. Moreover, the accuracy of these findings is likely to be affected by several limitations of the study. For example, few of the included studies controlled for other factors that might have affected both exposure to IPV and depressive symptoms, and none of the studies considered the effect of emotional violence on depressive symptoms and suicide attempts. Nevertheless, these findings have two important implications. First, they suggest that preventing violence against women has the potential to reduce the global burden of disease related to depression and suicide. Second, they suggest that clinicians should pay attention to past experiences of violence and the risk of future violence when treating women who present with symptoms of depression.
Additional Information
Please access these websites via the online version of this summary at http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pmed.1001439.
This study is further discussed in a PLOS Medicine Perspective by Alexander Tsai
The US National Institute of Mental Health provides information on all aspects of depression and of suicide and suicide prevention (in English and Spanish)
The UK National Health Service Choices website provides detailed information about depression, including personal stories about depression, and information on suicide and its prevention; it has a webpage about domestic violence, which includes descriptions of personal experiences
The World Health Organization provides information on depression, on the global burden of suicide and on suicide prevention, and on intimate partner violence (some information in several languages)
MedlinePlus provides links to other resources about depression, suicide, and domestic violence (in English and Spanish)
The charity Healthtalkonline has personal stories about depression and about dealing with suicide
doi:10.1371/journal.pmed.1001439
PMCID: PMC3646718  PMID: 23671407
5.  Enhanced maternal and child health nurse care for women experiencing intimate partner/family violence: protocol for MOVE, a cluster randomised trial of screening and referral in primary health care 
BMC Public Health  2012;12:811.
Background
Intimate partner violence (IPV) can result in significant harm to women and families and is especially prevalent when women are pregnant or recent mothers. Maternal and child health nurses (MCHN) in Victoria, Australia are community-based nurse/midwives who see over 95% of all mothers with newborns. MCHN are in an ideal position to identify and support women experiencing IPV, or refer them to specialist family violence services. Evidence for IPV screening in primary health care is inconclusive to date. The Victorian government recently required nurses to screen all mothers when babies are four weeks old, offering an opportunity to examine the effectiveness of MCHN IPV screening practices. This protocol describes the development and design of MOVE, a study to examine IPV screening effectiveness and the sustainability of screening practice.
Methods/design
MOVE is a cluster randomised trial of a good practice model of MCHN IPV screening involving eight maternal and child health nurse teams in Melbourne, Victoria. Normalisation Process Theory (NPT) was incorporated into the design, implementation and evaluation of the MOVE trial to enhance and evaluate sustainability. Using NPT, the development stage combined participatory action research with intervention nurse teams and a systematic review of nurse IPV studies to develop an intervention model incorporating consensus guidelines, clinical pathway and strategies for individual nurses, their teams and family violence services. Following twelve months’ implementation, primary outcomes assessed include IPV inquiry, IPV disclosure by women and referral using data from MCHN routine data collection and a survey to all women giving birth in the previous eight months. IPV will be measured using the Composite Abuse Scale. Process and impact evaluation data (online surveys and key stakeholders interviews) will highlight NPT concepts to enhance sustainability of IPV identification and referral. Data will be collected again in two years.
Discussion
MOVE will be the first randomised trial to determine IPV screening effectiveness in a community based nurse setting and the first to examine sustainability of an IPV screening intervention. It will further inform the debate about the effectiveness of IPV screening and describe IPV prevalence in a community based post-partum and early infant population.
Trial registration
ACTRN12609000424202
doi:10.1186/1471-2458-12-811
PMCID: PMC3564741  PMID: 22994910
Intimate partner violence; Screening; Cluster randomised controlled trial; Maternal and child health nurse
6.  Intimate partner violence and help-seeking – a cross-sectional study of women in Sweden 
BMC Public Health  2013;13:866.
Background
Intimate partner violence (IPV) is a global public health concern with possible detrimental consequences for its victims. Studies have found prevalence rates of 15 to 71% for IPV. There is evidence that IPV exposed women perceive barriers to help-seeking and many remain undetected by care givers and authorities. This cross-sectional study aimed to examine IPV exposed women in relation to help-seeking versus non help-seeking from the social services or women’s shelters with regard to social and psychological characteristics as well as relationship with the perpetrator and type of violence exposure.
Methods
Two groups of Swedish IPV exposed women were included: non help-seekers (n = 128) were recruited through ads in newspapers, while help-seekers (n = 347) were recruited from four social service sites and twenty women’s shelters around Sweden. Participants were assessed with questionnaires regarding age, education, occupation and relation to the perpetrator as well as validated instruments measuring psychological distress, psychosocial functioning alcohol use and violence. Analyses were made using Chi2 and multivariate logistic regression.
Results
Help-seekers had significantly more often children together with the perpetrator than non help-seekers (64% and 29% respectively) and a high association was found in the fully adjusted model (Adj. OR = 5.46 95% CI 2.99-9.97). Many women in both groups reported a poor social situation and high levels of psychological distress, although more psychological distress was associated with elevated odds for help-seeking (Adj. OR = 2.83 95% CI 1.84-4.34). No differences were found between the groups regarding violence exposure and most women in both groups had experienced severe violence from an intimate partner (95% to 98%).
Conclusions
Results indicate a high problem load among women who had not contacted the social services or women’s shelters due to IPV, and that non help-seekers had similar experiences of severe IPV as help-seekers. This stresses a need to identify IPV exposed women outside specialized settings within the social services and women’s shelters. Asking about partner violence in various health and social care settings could be a feasible strategy to identify battered women and provide them with alternatives for help that ultimately could lead to a life without violence.
doi:10.1186/1471-2458-13-866
PMCID: PMC3852487  PMID: 24053735
7.  The training needs of Turkish emergency department personnel regarding intimate partner violence 
BMC Public Health  2007;7:350.
Background
Violence against females is a widespread public health problem in Turkey and the lifetime prevalence of IPV ranges between 34 and 58.7%. Health care workers (HCW) sometimes have the unique opportunity and obligation to identify, treat, and educate females who are abused. The objective of this study was to evaluate the knowledge, attitudes, and experiences of the emergency department (ED) staff regarding intimate partner violence (IPV) at a large university hospital in Turkey.
Methods
A cross-sectional study was conducted in a large university hospital via questionnaire. The study population consisted of all the nurses and physicians who worked in the ED during a two month period (n = 215). The questionnaire response rate was 80.5% (41 nurses and 132 physicians). The main domains of the questionnaire were knowledge regarding the definition of IPV, clinical findings in victims of IPV, legal aspects of IPV, attitudes towards IPV, knowledge about the characteristics of IPV victims and abusers, and professional and personal experiences and training with respect to IPV.
Results
One-half of the study group were females, 76.3% were physicians, and 89.8% had no training on IPV. The majority of the nurses (89.5%) and physicians (71.1%) declared that they were aware of the clinical appearance of IPV. The mean of the knowledge scores on clinical knowledge were 8.84 ± 1.73 (range, 0–10) for acute conditions, and 4.51 ± 3.32 for chronic conditions. The mean of the knowledge score on legal procedures and the legal rights of the victims was 4.33 ± 1.66 (range, 0–7). At least one reason to justify physical violence was accepted by 69.0% of females and 84.7% of males, but more males than females tended to justify violence (chi square = 5.96; p = 0.015). However, both genders accepted that females who experienced physical violence should seek professional medical help.
Conclusion
The study participants' knowledge about IPV was rather low and a training program is thus necessary on this issue. Attention must be given to the legal aspects and clinical manifestations of IPV. The training program should also include a module on gender roles in order to improve the attitudes towards IPV.
doi:10.1186/1471-2458-7-350
PMCID: PMC2241616  PMID: 18078505
8.  Are clinicians being prepared to care for abused women? A survey of health professional education in Ontario, Canada 
Background
The current project undertook a province-wide survey and environmental scan of educational opportunities available to future health care providers on the topic of intimate partner violence (IPV) against women.
Methods
A team of experts identified university and college programs in Ontario, Canada as potential providers of IPV education to students in health care professions at the undergraduate and post-graduate levels. A telephone survey with contacts representing these programs was conducted between October 2005 and March 2006. The survey asked whether IPV-specific education was provided to learners, and if so, how and by whom.
Results
In total, 222 eligible programs in dentistry, medicine, nursing and other allied health professions were surveyed, and 95% (212/222) of programs responded. Of these, 57% reported offering some form of IPV-specific education, with undergraduate nursing (83%) and allied health (82%) programs having the highest rates. Fewer than half of undergraduate medical (43%) and dentistry (46%) programs offered IPV content. Postgraduate programs ranged from no IPV content provision (dentistry) to 41% offering content (nursing).
Conclusion
Significant variability exists across program areas regarding the methods for IPV education, its delivery and evaluation. The results of this project highlight that expectations for an active and consistent response by health care professionals to women experiencing the effects of violence may not match the realities of professional preparation.
doi:10.1186/1472-6920-9-34
PMCID: PMC2709616  PMID: 19575776
9.  The value of intervening for intimate partner violence in South African primary care: project evaluation 
BMJ Open  2011;1(2):e000254.
Objectives
Intimate partner violence (IPV) is an important contributor to the burden of disease in South Africa. Evidence-based approaches to IPV in primary care are lacking. This study evaluated a project that implemented a South African protocol for screening and managing IPV. This article reports primarily on the benefits of this intervention from the perspective of women IPV survivors.
Design
This was a project evaluation involving two urban and three rural primary care facilities. Over 4–8 weeks primary care providers screened adult women for a history of IPV within the previous 24 months and offered referral to the study nurse. The study nurse assessed and managed the women according to the protocol. Researchers interviewed the participants 1 month later to ascertain adherence to their care plan and their views on the intervention.
Results
In total, 168 women were assisted and 124 (73.8%) returned for follow-up. Emotional (139, 82.7%), physical (115, 68.5%), sexual (72, 42.9%) and financial abuse (72, 42.9%) was common and 114 (67.9%) were at high/severe risk of harm. Adherence to the management plan ranged from testing for syphilis 10/25 (40.0%) to consulting a psychiatric nurse 28/58 (48.3%) to obtaining a protection order 28/28 (100.0%). Over 75% perceived all aspects of their care as helpful, except for legal advice from a non-profit organisation. Women reported significant benefits to their mental health, reduced alcohol abuse, improved relationships, increased self-efficacy and reduced abusive behaviour. Two characteristics seemed particularly important: the style of interaction with the nurse and the comprehensive nature of the assessment.
Conclusion
Female IPV survivors in primary care experience benefit from an empathic, comprehensive approach to assessing and assisting with the clinical, mental, social and legal aspects. Primary care managers should find ways to integrate this into primary care services and evaluate it further.
Article summary
Article focus
Did women experiencing IPV find assessment and management in primary care beneficial?
What aspects of their care plan did they adhere to?
What aspects of their care plan did they find most helpful?
Key messages
Women diagnosed with IPV in primary care perceive benefit from an intervention characterised by both empathic, non-judgemental and a comprehensive approach to the clinical, mental, social and legal aspects.
Women reported benefits to their mental health, alcohol use, relationships and experience of abusive behaviour.
IPV survivors were most proactive about securing protection orders, laying criminal charges and testing for pregnancy post-intervention.
Strengths and limitations of this study
A comprehensive biopsychosocial and forensic intervention in primary care was tested, securing follow-up that revealed its value.
The study was conducted under usual working conditions and resource availability making the findings applicable to the primary care context.
Although the study only involved five purposely selected facilities, the rural/urban mix makes it likely that these are fairly typical.
Obsequiousness bias was reduced by different researchers conducting the follow-up interviews.
Follow-up after 1 month is too short to predict the longer-term consequences of the intervention.
The study measured the effect of the intervention on the abuse indirectly via participant self-reports.
doi:10.1136/bmjopen-2011-000254
PMCID: PMC3236818  PMID: 22146888
10.  Barriers among Danish women and general practitioners to raising the issue of intimate partner violence in general practice: a qualitative study 
BMC Women's Health  2014;14:74.
Background
Thirty-five percent of Danish women experience sexual or physical violence in their lifetime. However, health care professionals are not in the practice of asking about intimate partner violence (IPV) in Denmark. It is currently unknown what hinders general practitioners from asking about partner violence and how Danish women would perceive such an inquiry. This aspect has not previously been explored in Denmark. An exploratory study was conducted to examine what hinders general practitioners (GPs) from asking and what Danish women’s views and attitudes are regarding being asked about IPV.
Methods
Data were collected through individual and group interviews with a sample of three GPs and a diverse sample of 13 women, including both survivors of partner violence and those without any history of partner violence. An interpretative analysis was performed with the data.
Results
This study provides important knowledge regarding the barriers and attitudes towards inquiry about IPV in primary care in Denmark. Results indicate that Denmark is facing the same challenges when responding to survivors of IPV as other similar countries, including Sweden, Norway, the UK, USA, and Australia. Danish women want general practitioners to ask about violence in a respectful and non-judgemental manner. However, general practitioners are resistant towards such an inquiry and would benefit from training regarding how to respond to women who have been exposed to IPV.
Conclusions
It is acceptable to inquire about IPV with women in Denmark in a non-judgemental and respectful way. Informing about IPV prevalence is important prior to the inquiry. However, general practitioners require more awareness and training before a favourable environment for this change in procedure can be created. Further large-scale research is needed to support the evidence generated by this small study.
doi:10.1186/1472-6874-14-74
PMCID: PMC4054904  PMID: 24893567
Intimate partner violence; Routine inquiry; General practitioners; Domestic violence; Social determinants of health; Partner violence
11.  Why physicians and nurses ask (or don’t) about partner violence: a qualitative analysis 
BMC Public Health  2012;12:473.
Background
Intimate partner violence (IPV) against women is a serious public health issue and is associated with significant adverse health outcomes. The current study was undertaken to: 1) explore physicians’ and nurses’ experiences, both professional and personal, when asking about IPV; 2) determine the variations by discipline; and 3) identify implications for practice, workplace policy and curriculum development.
Methods
Physicians and nurses working in Ontario, Canada were randomly selected from recognized discipline-specific professional directories to complete a 43-item mailed survey about IPV, which included two open-ended questions about barriers and facilitators to asking about IPV. Text from the open-ended questions was transcribed and analyzed using inductive content analysis. In addition, frequencies were calculated for commonly described categories and the Fisher’s Exact Test was performed to determine statistical significance when examining nurse/physician differences.
Results
Of the 931 respondents who completed the survey, 769 (527 nurses, 238 physicians, four whose discipline was not stated) provided written responses to the open-ended questions. Overall, the top barriers to asking about IPV were lack of time, behaviours attributed to women living with abuse, lack of training, language/cultural practices and partner presence. The most frequently reported facilitators were training, community resources and professional tools/protocols/policies. The need for additional training was a concern described by both groups, yet more so by nurses. There were statistically significant differences between nurses and physicians regarding both barriers and facilitators, most likely related to differences in role expectations and work environments.
Conclusions
This research provides new insights into the complexities of IPV inquiry and the inter-relationships among barriers and facilitators faced by physicians and nurses. The experiences of these nurses and physicians suggest that more supports (e.g., supportive work environments, training, mentors, consultations, community resources, etc.) are needed by practitioners. These findings reflect the results of previous research yet offer perspectives on why barriers persist. Multifaceted and intersectoral approaches that address individual, interpersonal, workplace and systemic issues faced by nurses and physicians when inquiring about IPV are required. Comprehensive frameworks are needed to further explore the many issues associated with IPV inquiry and the interplay across these issues.
doi:10.1186/1471-2458-12-473
PMCID: PMC3444396  PMID: 22721371
Intimate partner violence inquiry; Barriers and facilitators
12.  MOSAIC (MOthers' Advocates In the Community): protocol and sample description of a cluster randomised trial of mentor mother support to reduce intimate partner violence among pregnant or recent mothers 
BMC Public Health  2009;9:159.
Background
Intimate partner violence (IPV) is prevalent globally, experienced by a significant minority of women in the early childbearing years and is harmful to the mental and physical health of women and children. There are very few studies with rigorous designs which have tested the effectiveness of IPV interventions to improve the health and wellbeing of abused women. Evidence for the separate benefit to victims of social support, advocacy and non-professional mentoring suggested that a combined model may reduce the levels of violence, the associated mental health damage and may increase a woman's health, safety and connection with her children. This paper describes the development, design and implementation of a trial of mentor mother support set in primary care, including baseline characteristics of participating women.
Methods/Design
MOSAIC (MOtherS' Advocates In the Community) was a cluster randomised trial embedded in general practice and maternal and child health (MCH) nursing services in disadvantaged suburbs of Melbourne, Australia. Women who were pregnant or with infants, identified as abused or symptomatic of abuse, were referred by IPV-trained GPs and MCH nurses from 24 general practices and eight nurse teams from January 2006 to December 2007. Women in the intervention arm received up to 12 months support from trained and supported non-professional mentor mothers. Vietnamese health professionals also referred Vietnamese women to bilingual mentors in a sub-study. Baseline and follow-up surveys at 12 months measured IPV (CAS), depression (EPDS), general health (SF-36), social support (MOS-SF) and attachment to children (PSI-SF). Significant development and piloting occurred prior to trial commencement. Implementation interviews with MCH nurses, GPs and mentors assisted further refinement of the intervention. In-depth interviews with participants and mentors, and follow-up surveys of MCH nurses and GPs at trial conclusion will shed further light on MOSAIC's impact.
Discussion
Despite significant challenges, MOSAIC will make an important contribution to the need for evidence of effective partner violence interventions, the role of non-professional mentors in partner violence support services and the need for more evaluation of effective health professional training and support in caring for abused women and children among their populations.
Trial registration
ACTRN12607000010493
doi:10.1186/1471-2458-9-159
PMCID: PMC2702379  PMID: 19473534
13.  Yes we can! Improving medical screening for intimate partner violence through self-efficacy 
Abstract:
Background:
Because individual practitioner's commitment to routine screening for IPV is the greatest predictor that women will be screened and referred for services, it is vital that screeners are dedicated, knowledgeable, and confident in their ability to recognize and assist victims of violence. Self-efficacy has been consistently linked in the literature with successful outcomes.
Objectives:
Intimate partner violence (IPV) constitutes a major public health problem. In the absence of Federal or State regulation, individual hospitals and systems are left to develop their own policies and procedures. This paper describes the policies and procedures developed by an American domestic violence counseling and resource center.
Design: Post test surveys were used.
Settings: Hospitals, medical offices, and medical schools surrounding an urban area in Pennsylvania participated.
Participants: 320 nurses and medical students participated in training provided by a domestic violence center.
Methods:
Post test surveys measured self-efficacy, the perceived usefulness of screening the accessibility of victim services, understanding of obstacles faced by victims, and knowledge-level regarding local IPV services. Participants also self-reported their gender, age, race, and position with the hospital system.
Results:
Nurses and medical interns exhibit a wide range of self-efficacy regarding their ability to screen victims of intimate partner violence. Intimate partner violence (IPV) training yielded participants who were better informed about IPV services and the obstacles faced by victims.
Conclusions:
In the absence of uniform screening guidelines, hospitals, systems, and individual practitioners must be vigilant in screening procedures. Partnerships with women's centers may provide valuable resources and training that may ultimately improve patient care.
doi:10.5249/jivr.v3i1.62
PMCID: PMC3134916  PMID: 21483210
14.  Effect of Nurse Home Visits vs. Usual Care on Reducing Intimate Partner Violence in Young High-Risk Pregnant Women: A Randomized Controlled Trial 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(10):e78185.
Background
Expectant mothers and mothers of young children are especially vulnerable to intimate partner violence (IPV). The nurse-family partnership (NFP) is a home visitation program in the United States effective for the prevention of adverse child health outcomes. Evidence regarding the effect of nurse home visiting on IPV is inconsistent. This study aims to study the effect of VoorZorg, the Dutch NFP, on IPV.
Methods
A random sample of 460 eligible disadvantaged women <26 years, with no previous live births, was randomized. Women in the control group (C; n=223) received usual care; women in the intervention group (I; n=237) received usual care plus nurse home visits periodically during pregnancy and until the child’s second birthday.
Results
At 32 weeks of pregnancy, women in the intervention group self-reported significantly less IPV victimization than women in the control group in: level 2 psychological aggression (C: 56% vs. I: 39%), physical assault level 1 (C: 58% vs. I: 40%) and level 2 (C: 31% vs. I: 20%), and level 1 sexual coercion (C: 16% vs. I: 8%). Furthermore, women in the intervention group reported significantly less IPV perpetration in: level 2 psychological aggression (C: 60% vs. I: 46%), level 1 physical assault (C: 65% vs. I: 52%), and level 1 injury (C: 27% vs. I: 17%). At 24 months after birth, IPV victimization was significantly lower in the intervention group for level 1 physical assault (C: 44% vs. I: 26%), and IPV perpetration was significantly lower for level 1 sexual assault (C: 18% vs. I: 3%). Multilevel analyses showed a significant improvement in IPV victimization and perpetration among women in the intervention group at 24 months after birth.
Conclusion
VoorZorg, compared with the usual care, is effective in reducing IPV during pregnancy and in the two years after birth among young high-risk women.
Trial Registration
Dutch Trial Register NTR854 http://www.trialregister.nl/trialreg/admin/rctview.asp?TC=854
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0078185
PMCID: PMC3804627  PMID: 24205150
15.  “They told me to leave”: How health care providers address intimate partner violence 
Background
Intimate partner violence (IPV) victims frequently seek medical treatment though rarely for IPV. Recommendations for health care providers (HCPs) include: IPV screening, counseling, and safety referral.
Objective
Report women’s experiences discussing IPV with HCPs.
Design
Structured interviews with women reporting IPV HCP discussions; descriptive analyses; bivariate and multivariate analyses and association with patient demographics and substance abuse.
Participants
Women from family court, community-based, inner-city primary care practice, and tertiary care-based outpatient psychiatric practice.
Key Results
A total 142 women participated: family court (N=44; 31%), primary care practice (N=62; 43.7%), and psychiatric practice (N=36; 25.4%) Fifty-one percent (n=72) reported HCPs knew of their IPV. Of those, 85% (n=61) told a primary care provider. Regarding IPV attitudes, 85% (n=61) found their HCP open, and 74% (n=53) knowledgeable. Regarding approaches, 71% (n= 51) believed their HCP advocated leaving the relationship. While 31% (n=22) received safety information, only 8% (n=6) received safety information and perceived their HCP as not advocating leaving the abusive relationship.
Conclusions
Half of participants disclosed IPV to their HCP’s but if they did, most perceived their provider advocated them leaving the relationship. Only 31% reported HCPs provided safety planning despite increased risks associated with leaving. We suggest healthcare providers improve safety planning with patients disclosing IPV.
doi:10.3122/jabfm.2012.03.110193
PMCID: PMC3388120  PMID: 22570397
domestic violence; patient-physician communication; women’s health
16.  Gay and Bisexual Men's Perceptions of Police Helpfulness in Response to Male-Male Intimate Partner Violence 
Introduction Despite several recent studies documenting high rates of intimate partner violence (IPV) among gay and bisexual men (GBM), the literature is silent regarding GBM's perceptions of IPV within their community. We examine GBM's perceptions of same-sex IPV: its commonness, its severity, and the helpfulness of a hypothetical police response to a GBM experiencing IPV.
Methods: We drew data from a 2011 survey of venue-recruited GBM (n=989). Respondents were asked to describe the commonness of IPV, severity of IPV, and helpfulness of a hypothetical police response to IPV among GBM and among heterosexual women. We fitted a logistic model for the outcome of viewing the police response to a gay/bisexual IPV victim as less helpful than for a female heterosexual IPV victim. The regression model controlled for age, race/ethnicity, education, sexual orientation, employment status, and recent receipt of physical, emotional, and sexual IPV, with key covariates being internalized homophobia and experiences of homophobic discrimination.
Results: The majority of respondents viewed IPV among GBM as common (54.9%) and problematic (63.8%). While most respondents had identical perceptions of the commonness (82.7%) and severity (84.1%) of IPV in GBM compared to heterosexual women, the majority of the sample (59.1%) reported perceiving that contacting the police would be less helpful for a GBM IPV victim than for a heterosexual female IPV victim. In regression, respondents who reported more lifetime experiences of homophobic discrimination were more likely to have this comparatively negative perception (odds ratio: 1.11, 95% confidence interval: 1.06, 1.17).
Conclusion: The results support a minority stress hypothesis to understand GBM's perceptions of police helpfulness in response to IPV. While IPV was viewed as both common and problematic among GBM, their previous experiences of homophobia were correlated with a learned anticipation of rejection and stigma from law enforcement. As the response to same-sex IPV grows, legal and health practitioners should ensure that laws and policies afford all protections to GBM IPV victims that are afforded to female IPV victims, and should consider methods to minimize the negative impact that homophobic stigma has upon GBM's access of police assistance.
doi:10.5811/westjem.2013.3.15639
PMCID: PMC3735383  PMID: 23930149
17.  Orthopaedic Surgeons’ Knowledge and Misconceptions in the Identification of Intimate Partner Violence Against Women 
Background
Intimate partner violence (IPV)—physical, sexual, psychologic, or financial abuse between intimate partners—is the most common cause of nonfatal injury to women in North America. As many IPV-related injuries are musculoskeletal, orthopaedic surgeons are well positioned to identify and assist these patients. However, data are lacking regarding surgeons’ knowledge of the prevalence of IPV in orthopaedic practices, surgeons’ screening and management methods, and surgeons’ perceptions about IPV.
Questions/purposes
We aimed to identify (1) surgeon attitudes and beliefs regarding victims of IPV and batterers and (2) perceptions of surgeons regarding their role in identifying and assisting victims of IPV.
Methods
We surveyed 690 surgeon members of the Orthopaedic Trauma Association. The survey had three sections: (1) general perception of orthopaedic surgeons regarding IPV; (2) perceptions of orthopaedic surgeons regarding victims and batterers; and (3) orthopaedic relevance of IPV. One hundred fifty-three surgeons responded (22%).
Results
Respondents manifested key misconceptions: (1) victims must be getting something out of the abusive relationships (16%); (2) some women have personalities that cause the abuse (20%); and (3) the battering would stop if the batterer quit abusing alcohol (40%). In the past year, approximately ½ the respondents (51%) acknowledged identifying a victim of IPV; however, only 4% of respondents currently screen injured female patients for IPV. Surgeons expressed concerns regarding lack of knowledge in the management of abused women (30%).
Conclusion
Orthopaedic surgeons had several misconceptions about victims of IPV and batterers. Targeted educational programs on IPV are needed for surgeons routinely caring for injured women.
doi:10.1007/s11999-012-2749-x
PMCID: PMC3585999  PMID: 23283672
18.  Development of a nurse home visitation intervention for intimate partner violence 
Background
Despite an increase in knowledge about the epidemiology of intimate partner violence (IPV), much less is known about interventions to reduce IPV and its associated impairment. One program that holds promise in preventing IPV and improving outcomes for women exposed to violence is the Nurse-Family Partnership (NFP), an evidence-based nurse home visitation program for socially disadvantaged first-time mothers. The present study developed an intervention model and modification process to address IPV within the context of the NFP. This included determining the extent to which the NFP curriculum addressed the needs of women at risk for IPV or its recurrence, along with client, nurse and broader stakeholder perspectives on how best to help NFP clients cope with abusive relationships.
Methods
Following a preliminary needs assessment, an exploratory multiple case study was conducted to identify the core components of the proposed IPV intervention. This included qualitative interviews with purposeful samples of NFP clients and community stakeholders, and focus groups with nurse home visitors recruited from four NFP sites. Conventional content analysis and constant comparison guided data coding and synthesis. A process for developing complex interventions was then implemented.
Results
Based on data from 69 respondents, an IPV intervention was developed that focused on identifying and responding to IPV; assessing a client's level of safety risk associated with IPV; understanding the process of leaving and resolving an abusive relationship and system navigation. A need was identified for the intervention to include both universal elements of healthy relationships and those tailored to a woman's specific level of readiness to promote change within her life. A clinical pathway guides nurses through the intervention, with a set of facilitators and corresponding instructions for each component.
Conclusions
NFP clients, nurses and stakeholders identified the need for modifications to the existing NFP program; this led to the development of an intervention that includes universal and targeted components to assist NFP nurses in addressing IPV with their clients. Plans for feasibility testing and evaluation of the effectiveness of the IPV intervention embedded within the NFP, and compared to NFP-only, are discussed.
doi:10.1186/1472-6963-12-50
PMCID: PMC3311591  PMID: 22375908
19.  Changes in Health Care Costs over Time Following the Cessation of Intimate Partner Violence 
ABSTRACT
Background
Research has documented greater health care costs attributable to intimate partner violence (IPV) among women during and after exposure. However, no studies have determined whether health care costs for abused women return to baseline levels at some point after their abuse ceases.
Objective
We examine whether health care costs among women exposed to IPV converge with those of non-abused women during a 10-year period following the end of exposure.
Design
Retrospective cohort analysis.
Setting
Group Health Cooperative, a large integrated health care system in the Pacific Northwest.
Participants
Random sample of English-speaking women aged 18–64 enrolled within Group Health and who participated in a telephone survey between June 2003 and August 2005.
Measurements
Total health care costs over an 11-year period from January 1, 1992 to December 31, 2002 were compiled using automated health plan data and comparisons made among women exposed to IPV since age 18 and those who never experienced IPV. IPV included physical, sexual, or psychological violence involving an intimate partner, and was assessed using five questions from the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System.
Results
Relative to women with no IPV history, total health care costs were significantly higher during IPV exposure, costs that were sustained for 3 years following the end of exposure. By the 4th year following the end of exposure to IPV, health care costs among IPV-exposed women were similar to non-abused women, and this pattern held for the remainder of the 10-year study period.
Conclusions
Policy makers should consider the ongoing needs of victims following abuse exposure. Interventions to reduce the prevalence of IPV or to mitigate the impact of IPV have the potential to reduce the rate of growth of health care costs.
doi:10.1007/s11606-010-1359-0
PMCID: PMC2917667  PMID: 20414736
intimate partner violence (IPV); health care costs; retrospective analysis
20.  Recovery from depressive symptoms, state anxiety and post-traumatic stress disorder in women exposed to physical and psychological, but not to psychological intimate partner violence alone: A longitudinal study 
BMC Psychiatry  2010;10:98.
Background
It is well established that intimate male partner violence (IPV) has a high impact on women's mental health. It is necessary to further investigate this impact longitudinally to assess the factors that contribute to its recovery or deterioration. The objective of this study was to assess the course of depressive, anxiety and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) symptoms and suicidal behavior over a three-year follow-up in female victims of IPV.
Methods
Women (n = 91) who participated in our previous cross-sectional study, and who had been either physically/psychologically (n = 33) or psychologically abused (n = 23) by their male partners, were evaluated three years later. A nonabused control group of women (n = 35) was included for comparison. Information about mental health status and lifestyle variables was obtained through face-to-face structured interviews.
Results
Results of the follow-up study indicated that while women exposed to physical/psychological IPV recovered their mental health status with a significant decrease in depressive, anxiety and PTSD symptoms, no recovery occurred in women exposed to psychological IPV alone. The evolution of IPV was also different: while it continued across both time points in 65.21% of psychologically abused women, it continued in only 12.12% of physically/psychologically abused women while it was reduced to psychological IPV in 51.5%. Hierarchical multiple regression analyses indicated that cessation of physical IPV and perceived social support contributed to mental health recovery, while a high perception of lifetime events predicted the continuation of PTSD symptoms.
Conclusion
This study shows that the pattern of mental health recovery depends on the type of IPV that the women had been exposed to. While those experiencing physical/psychological IPV have a higher likelihood of undergoing a cessation or reduction of IPV over time and, therefore, could recover, women exposed to psychological IPV alone have a high probability of continued exposure to the same type of IPV with a low possibility of recovery. Thus, women exposed to psychological IPV alone need more help to escape from IPV and to recuperate their mental health. Longitudinal studies are needed to improve knowledge of factors promoting or impeding health recovery to guide the formulation of policy at individual, social and criminal justice levels.
doi:10.1186/1471-244X-10-98
PMCID: PMC3009625  PMID: 21108834
21.  Intimate partner violence against women during and after pregnancy: a cross-sectional study in Mumbai slums 
BMC Public Health  2013;13:817.
Background
At least one-third of women in India experience intimate partner violence (IPV) at some point in adulthood. Our objectives were to describe the prevalence of IPV during pregnancy and after delivery in an urban slum setting, to review its social determinants, and to explore its effects on maternal and newborn health.
Methods
We did a cross-sectional study nested within the data collection system for a concurrent trial. Through urban community surveillance, we identified births in 48 slum areas and interviewed mothers ~6 weeks later. After collecting information on demographic characteristics, socioeconomic indicators, and maternal and newborn care, we asked their opinions on the justifiability of IPV and on their experience of it in the last 12 months.
Results
Of 2139 respondents, 35% (748) said that violence was justifiable if a woman disrespected her in-laws or argued with her husband, failed to provide good food, housework and childcare, or went out without permission. 318 (15%, 95% CI 13, 16%) reported IPV in the year that included pregnancy and the postpartum period. Physical IPV was reported by 247 (12%, 95% CI 10, 13%), sexual IPV by 35 (2%, 95% CI 1, 2%), and emotional IPV by 167 (8%, 95% CI 7, 9). 219 (69%) women said that the likelihood of IPV was either unaffected by or increased during maternity. IPV was more likely to be reported by women from poorer families and when husbands used alcohol. Although 18% of women who had suffered physical IPV sought clinical care for their injuries, seeking help from organizations outside the family to address IPV itself was rare. Women who reported IPV were more likely to have reported illness during pregnancy and use of modern methods of family planning. They were more than twice as likely to say that there were situations in which violence was justifiable (odds ratio 2.6, 95% CI 1.7, 3.4).
Conclusions
One in seven women suffered IPV during or shortly after pregnancy. The elements of the violent milieu are mutually reinforcing and need to be taken into account collectively in responding to both individual cases and framing public health initiatives.
doi:10.1186/1471-2458-13-817
PMCID: PMC3846679  PMID: 24015762
Intimate partner violence; Domestic violence; India; Mumbai; Maternal health; Slums
22.  The Economic Burden of Intimate Partner Violence in Ecuador: Setting the Agenda for Future Research and Violence Prevention Policies 
Introduction: Intimate partner violence (IPV) is a widespread social structural problem that affects a great proportion of Ecuadorian women. IPV is a sexually, psychologically, or physically coercive act against an adult or adolescent woman by a current or former intimate partner. Not-for-profit groups in Ecuador report that 70% of women experience 1 of the forms of IPV sometime during their lifetime, but population-based surveys suggest that 41% of Ecuadorian women are exposed to emotional violence, 31% physical violence, and 12% sexual violence by their spouse or partner over their lifetime. Despite the high prevalence, the response of the Ecuadorian government has been insufficient to reduce the number of victims and to provide adequate legal and health services for the prevention and treatment of IPV. Given the power of economic data to influence policy making, the goal of this study is to produce the first estimate of the economic impact of IPV in Ecuador and to identify the policy paths in which these estimates would have the greatest impact for Ecuador.
Methods: Using a bottom-up method for estimating the economic burden of IPV and a national prevalence of IPV based on a population-based survey in the 2003–2004 year, the total economic burden is estimated at approximately $109 million adjusted to the 2012 United States (U.S.) currency rate.
Results: Based on a prevalence of 255,267 women who were victims of IPV in the 2003–2004 year, the total economic burden is estimated at approximately $109 million adjusted to the 2012 the U.S. currency rate. The largest cost category contributing to the economic burden was the costs of healthcare services to treat injuries associated with IPV events.
Conclusion: The asymmetry between the economic burden of IPV and the amount of government resources devoted to IPV prevention efforts suggests the need for a greater role to be played by the government and other factors in society in the area of IPV prevention.
doi:10.5811/westjem.2013.2.15697
PMCID: PMC3735382  PMID: 23930148
23.  Towards the Development of an Intimate Partner Violence Screening Tool for Gay and Bisexual Men 
Introduction:
Recent research suggests that gay and bisexual men experience intimate partner violence (IPV) at rates comparable to heterosexual women. However, current screening tools used to identify persons experiencing IPV were largely created for use with heterosexual women. Given the high prevalence of IPV among gay and bisexual men in the United States, the lack of IPV screening tools that reflect the lived realities of gay and bisexual men is problematic.This paper describes the development of a short-form IPV screening tool intended to be used with gay and bisexual men.
Methods:
A novel definition of IPV, informed by formative Focus Group Discussions, was derived from a quantitative survey of approximately 1,100 venue-recruited gay and bisexual men. From this new definition, a draft IPV screening tool was created. After expert review (n=13) and cognitive interviews with gay and bisexual men (n=47), a screening tool of six questions was finalized.A national, online-recruited sample (n=822) was used to compare rates of IPV identified by the novel tool and current standard tools.
Results:
The six-item, short-form tool created through the six-stage research process captured a significantly higher prevalence of recent experience of IPV compared to a current and commonly used screening tool (30.7% versus 7.5%, p<0.05). The novel short-form tool described additional domains of IPV not currently found in screening tools, including monitoring behaviors, controlling behaviors, and HIV-related IPV. The screener takes less than five minutes to complete and is 6th grade reading level.
Conclusion:
Gay and bisexual men experiencing IPV must first be identified before services can reach them. Given emergent literature that demonstrates the high prevalence of IPV among gay and bisexual men and the known adverse health sequela of experiencing IPV, this novel screening tool may allow for the quick identification of men experiencing IPV and the opportunity for referrals for the synergistic management of IPV. Future work should focus on implementing this tool in primary or acute care settings in order to determine its acceptability and its feasibility of use more broadly.
doi:10.5811/westjem.3.2013.15597
PMCID: PMC3756706  PMID: 23997849
24.  Recognizing Intimate Partner Violence in Primary Care: Western Cape, South Africa 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(1):e29540.
Introduction
Interpersonal violence in South Africa is the second highest contributor to the burden of disease after HIV/AIDS and 62% is estimated to be from intimate partner violence (IPV). This study aimed to evaluate how women experiencing IPV present in primary care, how often IPV is recognized by health care practitioners and what other diagnoses are made.
Methods
At two urban and three rural community health centres, health practitioners were trained to screen all women for IPV over a period of up to 8 weeks. Medical records of 114 thus identified women were then examined and their reasons for encounter (RFE) and diagnoses over the previous 2-years were coded using the International Classification of Primary Care. Three focus group interviews were held with the practitioners and interviews with the facility managers to explore their experience of screening.
Results
IPV was previously recognized in 11 women (9.6%). Women presented with a variety of RFE that should raise the index of suspicion for IPV– headache, request for psychiatric medication, sleep disturbance, tiredness, assault, feeling anxious and depressed. Depression was the commonest diagnosis. Interviews identified key issues that prevented health practitioners from screening.
Conclusion
This study demonstrated that recognition of women with IPV is very low in South African primary care and adds useful new information on how women present to ambulatory health services. These findings offer key cues that can be used to improve selective case finding for IPV in resource-poor settings. Universal screening was not supported by this study.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0029540
PMCID: PMC3252321  PMID: 22242173
25.  The Association between Emergency Department Resources and Diagnosis of Intimate Partner Violence 
Objective
There is little information about which intimate partner violence (IPV) policies and services assist in the identification of IPV in the emergency department (ED). The objective of this study was to examine the association between a variety of resources and documented IPV diagnoses.
Methods
Using billing data assembled from 21 Oregon EDs from 2001 to 2005, we identified patients assigned a discharge diagnosis of IPV. We then surveyed ED directors and nurse managers to gain information about IPV-related policies and services offered by participating hospitals. We combined billing data, survey results and hospital-level variables. Multivariate analysis assessed the likelihood of receiving a diagnosis of IPV depending on the policies and services available.
Results
In 754,597 adult female ED visits, IPV was diagnosed 1,929 times. Mandatory IPV screening and victim advocates were the most commonly available IPV resources. The diagnosis of IPV was independently associated with the use of a standardized intervention checklist (OR 1.71, 95% CI 1.04–2.82). Public displays regarding IPV were negatively associated with IPV diagnosis (OR 0.56, 95% CI 0.35–0.88).
Conclusions
IPV remains a rare documented diagnosis. Most common hospital-level resources did not demonstrate an association with IPV diagnoses; however, a standardized intervention checklist may play a role in clinicians’ likelihood diagnosing IPV.
doi:10.1097/MEJ.0b013e328348a9f2
PMCID: PMC3296282  PMID: 22391615
domestic violence; spouse abuse; battering; hospital services; emergency medicine

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