Evidence supports asking women about partner abuse

NEWS IN BRIEF — Posted June 25, 2012

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Physicians should routinely screen women for domestic violence, according to guidance from the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force published June 5 in Annals of Internal Medicine. Six screening instruments are “highly accurate,” and detecting intimate partner violence improves birth outcomes for pregnant women and helps women exit unsafe relationships, the panel said.

The task force last examined routine domestic-abuse screening in 2004 and said there was “insufficient evidence” to support it. The panel reviewed six randomized trials of intimate-partner violence interventions published since then, finding that few women report being upset by the screening questions.

At least 1.3 million U.S. women experience domestic abuse annually, with about one in five suffering such violence at some point in their lives. The annual cost linked to the abuse is at least $2 billion, said the report (link).

Note: This item originally appeared at

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