Screening for intimate partner violence in health care and social service settings: WITH women

What we’re doing: The WITH Women project (Web-based Innovations Targeting the Health of Women) explores ways to make sure people who identify as women are screened effectively for intimate partner violence in health care and social service settings.

We will:

  • Identify and test best practices related to screening women for intimate partner violence. We are exploring how mobile apps could be used to overcome barriers to routine screening in healthcare settings.
  • Work to see these methods implemented in a variety of health care settings in Ontario.

Why we’re doing it: Between 25 – 50 per cent of women in Canada will experience physical, sexual and/or psychological violence from a partner. At the same time, few clinical settings effectively and consistently screen for intimate partner violence. How we’re doing it:

  • Working directly with a clinic in a hospital in downtown Toronto to develop screening practices that can then be used in a variety of health care settings.
  • Working with patients/clients from health care and social service organizations to design mobile decision support apps that are culturally relevant, and that meet the needs of women who have traditionally been left out of the design of both service delivery and technological tools.

Our partners: Health care and social service organizations in downtown Toronto.

Action point: While screening is important, providers require the capacity to refer women to appropriate resources. Ontario must enhance and develop infrastructure and services such as a sufficient number of violence against women shelters, quality transitional housing, quality permanent housing and a range of supports. Please see our summary of interviews with women from across Ontario for specific recommendations for policy-makers and providers.

For more information: Please contact Principal Investigator Dr. Patricia O’Campo at: O’CampoP@smh.ca

Resources:

Reaching Out: Asking about partner violence in Toronto teaching hospitals. Interviews with staff and providers about barriers and facilitators to screening for intimate partner violence. Plain language report.

Implementing successful intimate partner violence screening programs in health care settings: evidence generated from a realist-informed systematic review. O’Campo P, Kirst M, Tsamis C, Chambers C, Ahmad F. (2011). Soc Sci Med. 72(6):855-66. Examines literature related to IPV screening programs in health care settings. Plain language summary.

“I’ve never asked one question.” Understanding the barriers among orthopedic surgery residents to screening female patients for intimate partner violence. Gotlib Conn L, Young A, Rotstein OD, Schemitsch E. (2014). Can J Surg. 57(6):371-378. Focus groups with orthopaedic surgery residents at the University of Toronto exploring barriers to screening for intimate partner violence. Full text.

Screening for intimate partner violence in orthopedic patients: a comparison of three screening tools. Sprague S, Madden K, Dosanjh S, Petrisor B, Schemitsch EH, Bhandari M. (2012). J Interpers Violence. 27(5):881-98. Examines efficacy of two different screening tools and the use of direct questions in identifying intimate partner violence in health care settings. Abstract.

The prevalence of intimate partner violence across orthopaedic fracture clinics in Ontario. P.R.A.I.S.E. Investigators. (2011). J Bone Joint Surg Am. 93:132-41. Examines prevalence of intimate partner violence in orthopaedic fracture clinics in Ontario. Full text.

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