MAHEC Partners to Encourage Screening for Intimate Partner Violence

The Mountain Area Health Education Center (MAHEC) has joined with Helpmate, Buncombe County’s domestic violence agency, to encourage clinicians to screen for Intimate Partner Violence (IPV). This initiative is thanks to a grant from the North Carolina Coalition Against Domestic Violence and the Office on Women’s Health at the U. S. Department of Health and Human Services.

According to recently published data from the National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey, more than one in three women have experienced violence by an intimate partner at some point in her life. Despite IPV’s prevalence, medical care providers have not typically screened for it until now.

MAHEC is one of eight implementation sites across the state for this grant.  Medical staff are trained to ask questions in a manner that protects patients and assesses their current level of danger. The four IPV screening questions are simple but powerful and include, “Within the last year, have you been afraid of your partner or ex-partner?”

If a patient discloses that she is or has been in an abusive relationship, she will be encouraged to call the Helpmate or the domestic violence agency in her county during the appointment to create a safety plan. In the MAHEC partnership, if the patient isn’t ready to make the call, the provider or one of MAHEC’s behavioral health professionals can help her develop a plan.

The NC Coalition Against Domestic Violence website has information about resources to help victims in all 100 counties in the state as well as training programs.


Share this Post