1 in 3: Intimate Partner Violence (IPV) & Health

1 in 3 women and 1 in 7 men have experienced IPV in their lifetime, rates that are reflected in the state of North Carolina.

IPV has significant adverse impacts on physical and mental health. Individuals exposed to IPV experience higher rates of chronic pain, gastrointestinal disorders, stroke and heart disease. People with abuse histories also have increased risk of HIV and other STIs, as well as poor birth outcomes. Mental and behavioral health impacts of IPV include anxiety, depression, posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and substance use disorders. Often the more severe the experience of IPV, and the longer someone has been exposed to IPV, the greater the health consequences. Learn more about the impact of IPV on health.

The Importance of Healthcare–DV Partnerships

Healthcare staff and providers play an important role in mitigating the negative effects of IPV, and primary care centers can serve as a “safe sanctuary to discuss IPV” for survivors when healthcare providers and staff receive adequate training and resources. Using routine patient education, screening questions, appropriate referrals, and in-clinic services for survivors can be transformative to patient care.

Health workers can not only work to address IPV-related health issues, like chronic pain and unwanted pregnancies, but can also help connect survivors to safety planning, shelter, counseling and legal services through domestic violence (DV) agencies. Similarly, DV advocates can benefit from strengthening relationships with healthcare workers. Many survivors receiving services at DV agencies need referrals to trusted and affordable community service providers including reproductive and mental healthcare.

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