In June 2013, the World Health Organization (WHO) published Responding to Intimate Partner Violence and Sexual Violence Against Women, providing evidence-based recommendations to guide clinicians. “This guidance is important because a clinician may be the first professional contact for persons exposed to intimate partner violence (IPV),” write Gene Feder, M.B., B.S., M.D., F.R.C.G.P., of the University of Bristol, United Kingdom, and colleagues. The guidelines are based on systematic reviews of a range of topics, including identification and approaches to providing care for women and their children after disclosure of IPV and sexual violence. In this Viewpoint, the authors summarize and discuss the IPV recommendations.
“Violence against women is a complex psychosocial and international problem. Clinicians should be part of a larger, multisystem, and coordinated solution that takes into account individual-, community-, and system-level responses, as well as a lifespan approach to violence risk assessment and prevention for those who experience IPV as well as for perpetrators. Research evidence should inform clinical actions, regardless of the disease, condition, or exposure. Although the quality of available supporting evidence is low to moderate, the new WHO guidelines provide evidence-based recommendations to assist clinicians to respond in a caring, respectful, and safe manner to women exposed to violence and may contribute to a better health care response to IPV internationally.”
JAMA. 2013;DOI 310:479-480