Despite increasing recognition of intimate partner violence (IPV) as a public health concern and its impact on individuals, families, and society, little is known about why female victims of IPV do not disclose their abuse to healthcare providers. Despite recommendations for IPV screening by the Institute of Medicine, United States Preventative Services Task Force and other national organizations, some research suggests that we are not improving health outcomes by conducting routine screening for IPV. The aim of this study is to identify the barriers to disclosure in the healthcare setting faced by female victims of IPV. The study design includes the completion of a written questionnaire by female victims seeking services from a nonprofit agency providing multiple forms of assistance to IPV victims. Study results indicate various reasons for the nondisclosure of IPV in the healthcare setting but, notably, include victim perceptions of a lack of inquiry into IPV by the healthcare provider. Some intrinsic reasoning for lack of IPV disclosure in the healthcare setting include feelings of shame or embarrassment, the fear one would not be believed, the belief that healthcare providers would be unable to help or nothing could be done about the abuse, a lack of trust in healthcare providers or the healthcare system, among others. The identification of the barriers to IPV disclosure face by female victims could provide the information necessary for the development of a sensitive screening tool allowing for earlier identification of IPV victims.
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- Date submitted
19 July 2022