The Challenge of Managing Families With Intimate Partner Violence in Primary Care

Document Type


Publication Date



Since 1992, the American Medical Association has encouraged physicians to ask patients about intimate partner violence (IPV).1 Although this recommendation has existed for 15 years, studies show that there is room for improvement, with less than 10% of physicians routinely asking about IPV.2 A variety of studies have identified time constraints, discomfort with the subject, fear of offending the patient, frustration with patient denial, lack of skills and resources to manage IPV, and personal issues as barriers for physicians.3–5 In this issue, Heru et al.6 point out the complexity of relationships with IPV in adult suicidal inpatients. These relationships include mutual perpetration of violence, poor anger management skills, and limited communication. It is no wonder that physicians do not want to open Pandora's box.