1. Intimate Partner Violence/Domestic Violence is the leading cause of injury in women aged 15-44.
2. 1 in 4 women will be victims of intimate partner violence.
3. Intimate Partner Violence is about control, not violence.
4. Women who leave a battering relationship are 75% more at risk of being murdered than those that stay.
5. US Preventative Services Task Force and JCAHO support universal screening of women for IPV in primary care settings and emergency departments.
6. Teen Dating Violence is an important risk factor for teen depression, suicidal ideation, drug and alcohol use, and pregnancy.
7. IPV can present without physical injuries, and can be related to multiple ED visits, anxiety and depression, chronic pain syndromes, and substance abuse.
8. As in child abuse, certain physical findings are important to recognize as non accidental and highly correlative to IPV injuries. These include bruises in multiple stages of healing, injuries not compatible with history, strangulation, bite marks, injuries to breast, abdomen, and perineal area.
9. Children in homes with IPV are at risk for neglect, emotional and physical abuse, and may become future perpetrators of IPV themselves.
10. It is important as ED physicians to develop supportive and non judgmental ways of screening all patients for IPV, and to maintain a high degree of suspicion with trauma victims, psychiatric patients, and patients with multiple ED visits.
11. Referrals to our Domestic Violence Healthcare Project WILL help victims gain access to services, provide counseling, and help with safety and discharge planning. Healthcare providers do NOT need patient consent to make a referral for DVHP services.
12. Physician documentation of physical abuse is the SINGLE MOST important correlate to successful prosecution of IPV cases in court. Remember to document patient history and injuries well.