Continuing Medical Education

Intimate partner violence is everyone’s problem, but how should we approach it in a clinical setting?

C Gordon


Intimate partner violence (IPV) is a silent public health epidemic in South Africa (SA). Interpersonal violence in SA is the second highest
burden of disease after HIV/AIDS, and for women 62% of the former is ascribed to IPV. SA, therefore, has the highest reported intimate
femicide rate in the world. IPV has far-reaching consequences, stretching across generations. The cost to the economy and burden on
health services are considerable. IPV presents in many ways, cutting across all medical disciplines. Therefore, all medical professionals
should be conversant with this issue. This article provides essential, practical steps required for identifying and managing IPV, applicable
to any setting. These steps are summarised as six Rs: Realise that abuse is happening (be aware of cues); Recognise and acknowledge the
patient’s concerns; Relevant clinical assessment; Risk assessment; cRisis plan; and Refer as needed for medical, social, psychological and/or
legal assistance.

Author's affiliations

C Gordon, Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Cape Town

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Intimate partner violence

Cite this article

South African Medical Journal 2016;106(10):962-965. DOI:10.7196/SAMJ.2016.v106i10.11408

Article History

Date submitted: 2016-08-16
Date published: 2016-09-10

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