Domestic violence screenings recommended by doctors groups

Two separate doctors groups — one comprised on OB/GYNs, the other neurologists — recommended that patients receive routine domestic violence screenings by their physicians.

The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists released a statement this month in Obstetrics & Gynecology calling intimate partner violence an under-recognized public health epidemic. The statement recommended members screen women at periodic intervals, including pregnant women when they come for prenatal visits.

ACOG points to the fact that approximately one in every four women in the United States has been physically and/or sexually assaulted by a current or former partner. IPV symptoms include range from physical injuries to chronic pelvic pain, irritable bowel syndrome and recurrent vaginal infections, and is linked to poor health outcomes like unintended pregnancy, depression, anxiety, substance abuse and suicide.

The American Academy of Neurology, in an issue of Neurology, also called on its members to screen patients for abuse, including elder abuse, child abuse, sexual abuse, financial abuse, emotional abuse, bullying, cyberbullying and violence.

Reproductive health safety cards developed by ACOG and Futures Without Violence are available for download: