GPs are well placed to help patients experiencing domestic violence, says Professor Gene Feder.
Domestic or intimate partner violence (IPV) is a common violation of human rights, with long-term consequences for the physical and mental health of those affected and for their children.
IPV is any behaviour within a current or past intimate relationship that causes physical, psychological or sexual harm. Such behaviour includes:
- Acts of physical aggression - such as slapping, hitting, kicking and beating.
- Psychological violence - such as intimidation, constant belittling and humiliating.
- Forced intercourse and other forms of sexual coercion.
- Various controlling behaviours - such as isolating a person from their family and friends, monitoring their movements and restricting access to information or assistance.
Although the frequency of violent acts is comparable between men and women in relationships, sexual, repeated and severe physical violence is largely perpetrated against women, with consequent longer-term damage to their health.
Abuse of women is a significant public health issue with a prevalence similar to chronic diseases such as diabetes and asthma.1 About a …