How to Help As a Healthcare Professional


Women who talk to their healthcare provider about the abuse they are experiencing are 2.6x more likely to leave the abusive relationship

If you are working in a healthcare setting, you are significantly likely to run into individuals experiencing intimate partner violence. Your main role in supporting these individuals involves being able to identify them as victims through screening and then providing them with appropriate community resources. Screening patients for intimate partner violence is essential if we hope to reduce the severity and prevalence of violence.

Screening for intimate partner violence accomplishes three major things:

Affirms that IPV is a significant healthcare issue and provides a chance to discuss unhealthy and healthy relationships. This is helpful for both patients experiencing abuse and those not experiencing abuse.

Provides an opportunity to intervene early in an abusive relationship, preventing potential serious injury and illnesses that would otherwise result from escalating violence and trauma.

Provides a safe and confidential space to enable patients to disclose if they are experiencing abuse. They have a chance of being validated, thus drawing them out of isolation, and can learn about options they have that they otherwise may not have had access to.

In addition to having a concrete screening procedure in place, it can be enormously helpful to alter the office environment to further encourage patients to disclose their experiences with IPV. For example, having brochures for the local domestic/sexual violence agencies available for any patient to pick up increases their access to knowledge and resources. Posters can be beneficial as well. These items validate that domestic and sexual violence are prevalent issues, therefore decreasing stigma and allowing patients to more comfortably disclose their experience to healthcare professionals.

Screening for Reproductive Coercion:
Central Missouri domestic and sexual violence agencies to whom you can refer patients:

Fulton: CARDV – 573-642-4422
Mexico: ACCIS – 1-800-246-2280
Columbia: True North – 573-875-1370
Jefferson City: RACS – 573-634-4911
Moberly: Safe Passage – 660-269-8111

Having cards or brochures from your local DV/SV agency in your health care office will increase accessibility of services for your patients.