Seven million US women and 5 million men experience intimate partner violence (IPV) annually. Although the Affordable Care Act mandates coverage for IPV screening, compliance with this mandate is hampered by lack of evidence about patient-centered screening methods. Only 3-10 percent of IPV victims are identified by healthcare professionals, yet effective screening can increase identification of IPV. However, screening rates among healthcare providers remain low, and barriers to screening are especially pronounced in underserved rural areas like Appalachia, due to social and geographic isolation. Effective screening requires understanding IPV from the perspectives of many stakeholders, including victims, their families, advocacy groups, clinicians, healthcare and criminal justice systems, and policy makers.
Led by the West Virginia Coalition Against Domestic Violence—a statewide network with a 35-year history of successfully engaging communities to provide IPV-related services, training, and policy development—this project will develop sustained partnerships among these diverse stakeholders toward a goal of improving IPV screening. This project, the West Virginia Collaborative for IPV Screening, will explore our communities’ priorities by establishing trusting, respectful partnerships while supporting the sharing of expertise and skills, to ultimately break down existing silos that impede successful IPV screening. This collaborative will achieve the following objectives: 1) outline preferences for communication and meeting structure; 2) develop a governance and strategic plan; 3) brainstorm effective standard processes for engaging stakeholders, including safe, confidential engagement of IPV victims; and 4) partner with researchers to generate patient-centered comparative effectiveness research questions that will inform safe, effective IPV screening in healthcare settings.