Intimate Partner Violence Research in the Health Care Setting: What Are Appropriate and Feasible Methodological Standards?

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The past 20 years of research has exposed the profound cost of intimate partner violence (IPV) in health care problems and health care dollars for victims and bystanders. As a result, professional organizations encourage clinicians to identify IPV victims and to refer them to community resources. To date there is little evidence to show the value of these efforts, and many completed studies are criticized for methodological weaknesses. IPV studies are challenging to design, and the double-blind randomized controlled trial may be an impossible standard. To move forward, funders and study committees are encouraged to reassess the standards for IPV research methodologies.