Intimate partner violence: Identification and response in pediatric health care settings
Childhood exposure to intimate partner violence (IPV) is a public health issue. Approximately 1 in 6 US youth will be exposed to IPV during their childhood. Exposure to IPV may occur through direct witnessing of a wide array of coercive behaviors used to maintain power and control over an intimate partner, as well as witnessing outcomes of abuse, such as parental depression, physical injury, or destruction of household materials. This exposure results in chronic activation of the stress response system and subsequent maladaptive changes that lead to increased risk for myriad negative outcomes across the life course. These outcomes include poor physical, mental, and developmental health, and increased risk for child maltreatment.
The American Academy of Pediatrics recognizes the negative impact of childhood IPV exposure and the unique opportunities pediatric health care providers have to address IPV. Most caregivers find IPV screening and intervention in pediatric health care settings acceptable. Intervention by others and the impact of IPV on children are often motivators to seek help for IPV. Additionally, mothers experiencing IPV may seek care more often for their children than themselves, providing opportunities to address IPV that might not be available to adult care providers.
Randell KA, Ragavan MI. Intimate partner violence: identification and response in pediatric health care settings. Clin Pediatr (Phila). 2019 Oct 4:9922819879464. Epub ahead of print. PMID: 31585503. DOI: 10.1177/0009922819879464.