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August 7, 2013

An Evidence-Based Response to Intimate Partner ViolenceWHO Guidelines

Author Affiliations
  • 1Centre for Academic Primary Care, School of Social and Community Medicine, University of Bristol, Bristol, United Kingdom
  • 2Faculty of Information and Media Studies, Western University, London, Ontario, Canada
  • 3Department of Psychiatry and Behavioural Neurosciences, McMaster University, Hamilton, Ontario, Canada
  • 4Department of Pediatrics, McMaster University, Hamilton, Ontario, Canada
JAMA. 2013;310(5):479-480. doi:10.1001/jama.2013.167453

In June 2013, the World Health Organization (WHO) published Responding to Intimate Partner Violence and Sexual Violence Against Women,1 providing evidence-based recommendations to guide clinicians. This guidance is important because a clinician may be the first professional contact for persons exposed to intimate partner violence (IPV). The guidelines are based on systematic reviews of a range of topics, including identification and approaches to providing care for women and their children after disclosure of IPV and sexual violence. Although there is overlap in the guidance for both conditions, in terms of first-line response and subsequent follow-up care, there are also specific recommendations related to sexual violence (ie, postexposure prophylaxis for infection and emergency contraception). Even though men also experience IPV, the guidelines focus on women because women experience substantially more IPV than men and the morbidity and mortality are more severe. In this Viewpoint, we summarize and discuss the IPV recommendations (Table).

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