Intimate Partner Violence (IPV) is a serious, preventable public health problem that affects
millions of Americans. The term "intimate partner violence" describes
physical, sexual, or psychological harm by a current or former partner
or spouse. It can occur among heterosexual or same-sex couples and does
not require sexual intimacy.
Family medicine physicians feel under prepared to serve patients whom
they know are perpetrators of Intimate Partner Violence,
particularly if they also provide care to the victim.
These findings appear in the Journal of American Board of Family Medicine
‘Family medicine physicians feel under prepared to serve patients whom they know are perpetrators of Intimate Partner Violence (IPV).’
Researchers from Boston University Schools of Medicine (BUSM) and
Public Health (BUSPH) and Boston Medical Center (BMC) conducted a
qualitative study, which involved interviewing primary care physicians
(from the department of family medicine) who reported experiences with
male patients known to have perpetrated IPV.
The majority of the physicians in the study reported learning that
their male patients were perpetrating intimate partner violence (IPV)
because the female victim, who was also their patient, disclosed the
abuse, although a number of physicians reported that men disclose their
own abusive behavior in order to get help. These physicians described
feeling unprepared to intervene when male perpetrators of IPV requested
help in addressing their abusive behavior.
"Our findings that physicians lack training to intervene with
perpetrators of IPV is consistent with recent research that has shown
that only 23% of family medicine residency training programs
include any training at all regarding how to respond to IPV
perpetrators," explained corresponding author Brian Penti, assistant
professor of family medicine at BUSM and a family medicine physician at
According to Penti despite the prevalence of IPV and its impact on
victims and their children, the healthcare system has largely avoided
addressing the men who perpetrate IPV even though these men often access
the healthcare system. "Further research is needed to better identify
perpetrators of IPV and to develop effective interventions that can be
provided in the primary care setting, and to assist these men with
getting the help they need to stop their abusive behaviors," he added.