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The Center of Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), states that there are four types of domestic violence, namely intimate partner violence (IPV) which are physical violence, sexual violence, threats of physical or sexual violence, psychological/emotional abuse and coercive tactics.
Evidence shows that abuse women visit health care professionals more than non abuse women, although men do face abuse, women are significantly more likely to be physical or sexually assaulted by a current or former intimate partner partner than by an acquaintance, family member, friend or stranger. Many women do not report abuse as soon as it happens. They may think that it is a one off, or it was their fault or are afraid for them self and their children. Although many of these woman have found to have significantly chronic health problems, such as more neurological, gastrointestinal and gynecologic symptoms and chronic pain. Forced sex occurs in about 40 percent to 45 percent of IPV cases, this causing a lot of reproductive health problems, including chronic pelvis pain. There is an opportunity for nurses to assess for abuse of this nature at time of visit. Routine universal assessments for IPV is now the way forward, asking every woman at every health care visit if she has been abuse by a partner or ex partner. Signs to look out for are injuries that could be caused by blunt, squeezing and or sharp mechanisms of injury. Common form is being struck by a hand, fist or slap, laceration with a knife, razor, scalpel, glass or strangulation leading to bruises around the neck. It is important for nurses not to be judgmental, provide safety, and confidentially and provide as much support for the victim and the children, this may mean shelter. Referral to social worker/case manager to get expert help and security and safety and help with filling a report with the police if the victim want to do so, bearing in mind victim may be reluctant and even may go through all the processes of getting the help, advice and support and still end up going back. Unfortunately this happens often.