Family and Intimate Partner Violence and Abuse

Family violence is the intentional intimidation, abuse or neglect of children, adults or elders by a family member, intimate partner or caretaker in order to gain power and control over the victim. Abuse is a common and complex public health issue that has many forms, including physical and sexual assault, emotional or psychological mistreatment, threats and intimidation, economic abuse and violation of individual rights. All women, men and children are at risk for family violence. Family physicians who provide ongoing care for patients and communities have a unique opportunity to help break the cycle of violence by working with families and within their communities to prevent abuse. Family physicians should be aware of the prevalence of violence in all sectors of society; be alert for risk factors as well as signs of family violence with each patient encounter; be capable of providing an appropriate response when these issues are identified; and be able to work to prevent violence in patients who are at risk within their practices and communities. Family physicians are encouraged to offer referral to anyone involved in a violent relationship of any kind to appropriate community and mental health resources.

Family physicians can teach or help to establish education in their communities on parenting and conflict resolution skills that promote respectful and peaceful personal relationships. (2002) (2009 COD)