Editorials

Intimate partner violence

BMJ 2007; 334 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.39168.644757.BE (Published 05 April 2007) Cite this as: BMJ 2007;334:706

This article has a correction. Please see:

  1. Lorraine E Ferris, professor (Lorraine.ferris@utoronto.ca)
  1. Public Health Sciences, Faculty of Medicine, University of Toronto, Toronto, ON, Canada M2K IZ4

    Doctors' roles should be integrated with the needs of patients and society

    The World Health Organization's study on domestic violence against women highlights the need for immediate action.1 The study across 10 countries used robust culturally appropriate methods to assess the extent and effects on health of intimate partner violence and non-partner violence in 24 000 women. The lifetime prevalence of physical or sexual intimate partner violence (or both) in women who had ever had a partner ranged from 15% to 71% (29-62% at most sites), though prevalence varied significantly between and within countries (large cities versus less populated areas).

    We know more about the epidemiology of this type of violence than how to identify, prevent, and reduce it. However, recent research has made great strides, including identifying optimal methods for further evaluation of case screening in emergency departments, family medicine practices, and women's health clinics2; examining women's acceptance of screening2 3; identifying effective interventions4; and identifying successful strategies for training and continuing medical education.5 Further research is still needed, though, especially to evaluate interventions6 and assess whether universal screening is effective.7

    We can learn much from WHO's methodology and data collection methods, which relied, among other things, on partnerships with women's organisations and with other key stakeholders within each country. Of the 15 recommendations in the WHO report, two concern strengthening the health sector response (box 1) and take a clinical and public policy perspective, as others have done.8 The recommendations inform …

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