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Review Finds Insufficient Evidence for Screening for Intimate Partner Violence, Contradicts USPSTF Guidance — Physician’s First Watch

Medical News |
May 14, 2014

Review Finds Insufficient Evidence for Screening for Intimate Partner Violence, Contradicts USPSTF Guidance

By Amy Orciari Herman

Evidence is insufficient to screen for intimate partner violence (IPV) in healthcare settings, according to a systematic review in BMJ. In contrast, in January 2013, the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force recommended that clinicians screen reproductive-aged women for IPV.

The new review, using data from a recent Cochrane analysis, included 11 studies comprising some 13,000 reproductive-aged women in healthcare settings who either underwent IPV screening or received usual care. Among the findings:

  • Screening more than doubled the rate of identification of IPV, but identification rates remained low (between 3% and 17%).

  • Screening did not significantly increase the rate of referral to social workers or other services.

  • The two studies that examined IPV recurrence did not find a significant reduction after screening.

  • One study examined adverse effects of screening and found no apparent harm.

The authors conclude that the "current evidence does not support screening programmes for intimate partner violence in healthcare settings."

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