Screening women for intimate partner violence in healthcare settings

Added November 11, 2019

Citation: O’Doherty L., Hegarty K., Ramsay J., Davidson, L.L., Feder, G., Taft, A. Screening women for intimate partner violence in healthcare settings. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews 2015, Issue 7. Art. No.:CD007007.DOI:10.1002/14651858.CD007007.pub3.

There is insufficient evidence to recommend asking all women about abuse in healthcare settings.

Some governments and professional organizations recommend screening all women for intimate partner violence rather than asking only women with symptoms. This review evaluates the effectiveness and safety of screening for intimate partner violence conducted within healthcare settings on identification, referral, and re-exposure to violence, and health outcomes for women. Thirteen studies met the inclusion criteria and included 14,959 women who had agreed to be in those studies. The studies showed a mismatch between the increased numbers of women picked up through screening by healthcare professionals and the high numbers of women attending healthcare settings actually affected by domestic violence. There was no evidence of an effect for other outcomes (referral, re‐exposure to violence, health measures, harm arising from screening). Thus, while screening increases identification, there is insufficient evidence to justify screening in healthcare settings. More evidence is warranted to show if screening actually increases referring and women’s engagement with support services, and/or reduces violence and positively impacts on their health and wellbeing.

 

Disclaimer: This summary has been written by staff and volunteers of Evidence Aid in order to make the content of the original document accessible to decision makers who are searching for the available evidence on the health of refugees and asylum seekers but may not have the time, initially, to read the original report in full. This summary is not intended as a substitute for the medical advice of physicians, other health workers, professional associations, guideline developers, or national governments and international agencies. If readers of this summary think that the evidence that is presented within it is relevant to their decision-making they should refer to the content and details of the original article, and the advice and guidelines offered by other sources of expertise, before making decisions. Evidence Aid cannot be held responsible for any decisions made about the health of refugees and asylum seekers on the basis of this summary alone.

Share