Women Should Be Screened For Domestic AbuseEditor's Choice
Main Category: Women's Health / Gynecology
Also Included In: Psychology / Psychiatry
Article Date: 23 Jan 2013 - 11:00 PST
Women Should Be Screened For Domestic Abuse
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Women of childbearing age should be screened for domestic abuse and intimate partner violence while visiting their doctor.
The recommendation came from the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) and was published in the journal Annals of Internal Medicine.
The new suggestion represents a considerable change from 2004 when the USPSTF found inadequate proof to advocate screenings for intimate partner violence (IPV).
The task force currently supports screening after examining new research which revealed that asking women a list of standard questions showed a "moderate net benefit" and that there were little risks linked to uncovering abuse.
The recommendation also states that if the patients have been abused, they should be referred to intervention services, which may include:
- home visits
- information cards
- mentor programs
- community service referrals
The authors explained that the females of childbearing age were not the only subjects who experienced abuse from past or present intimate partners, however, there was not enough proof to propose wider screenings.
Dr. David Grossman, a Seattle pediatrician and task force member, said:
"The bottom line is that more research is needed on how primary-care clinicians can effectively screen and protect all populations, including older and vulnerable adults, middle-aged women, men and children from abuse and violence."
IPV screenings look for:
- sexual abuse
- physical violence
- pyschological abuse
- reproductive coercion
Health outcomes from IPV include:
- psychological distress
- premature births
- unintended pregnancy
- sexually transmitted diseases
Although other organizations, such as the American Medical Association, do not suggest a particular way of screening, they do prompt doctors to ask about abuse to all patients while inquiring about medical history.
Organizations may now embrace a more systematized protocol because of this new suggestion by the task force, some physicians believe.
Eric Ferrero, a Planned Parenthood spokesman, not involved in the study, said:
"This is very significant. It's just good practice to know a patient's health history, and we have been conducting screenings for a number of years. Hopefully, with this recommendation, it will be done more broadly."
Planned Parenthood gives medical care to an estimated 3 million people among 800 sites. When people receive screening for IPV, it is sometimes the first time that patients recognize abuse or even mention it, he added.
"We know, at least anecdotally, that this first discussion has led some women to leave an abusive relationship," Ferrero explained.
The USPSTF suggestion came from an analysis of several reports and interrogations with over 30,000 individuals. The experts conducted screenings in a variety of ways. For example, some females received face to face interviews by their doctor and others completed self-screenings, such as filling out a questionnaire on a computer or answering printed questions.
Written by Sarah Glynn
Copyright: Medical News Today
Not to be reproduced without permission of Medical News Today
Virginia A. Moyer, MD, MPH; and on behalf of the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force
Annals of Internal Medicine 22 January 2013
19 May. 2013. <http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/255301.php>
Please note: If no author information is provided, the source is cited instead.
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