Intimate Partner Violence Screening and Counseling: An Introductory Session for Health Care Professionals

Publication ID Published Volume
10622 September 5, 2017 13

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Introduction: Intimate partner violence is a serious public health concern in the United States. Despite recommendations that physicians should routinely screen their patients, research has shown that lack of specific training has resulted in many health care professionals feeling unable to adequately perform this difficult but vital task. Though many educational resources exist to teach intimate partner violence screening, they often lack specific guidance on how to navigate this difficult conversation. In addition, they often lack formal teaching on how to counsel and refer patients who are victims of intimate partner violence. Methods: This unique module, intended for a small-group setting of four to eight students, contains an intimate partner violence checklist with sample language that covers both screening and counseling using a motivational interviewing framework. Additional materials include a checklist companion for tips on how to navigate the conversation, two cases for role-play, a facilitator guide, and an objective structured clinical encounter case and assessment rubric. Results: This module was given to 260 second-year medical students at the Warren Alpert Medical School between 2015 and 2017 and was rated highly by almost 90% of students. Discussion: After completing this module, learners will be able to appropriately screen for intimate partner violence as well as counsel and refer patients who have screened positive. By implementing this module, educators can increase the number of health care professionals able to broach this difficult conversation with patients who may be in need of help and may otherwise go unaided.


Schrier MW, Rougas SC, Schrier EW, Elisseou S, Warrier S. Intimate partner violence screening and counseling: an introductory session for health care professionals. MedEdPORTAL Publications. 2017;13:10622.

Educational Objectives

By the end of this session, learners will be able to:

  1. Recognize signs and symptoms of intimate partner violence.
  2. Utilize interview techniques to screen patients for intimate partner violence.
  3. Navigate potential roadblocks during the patient interview, such as denial and resistance to change, using the motivational interviewing framework.
  4. Identify resources to support victims of intimate partner violence.


  • Intimate Partner Violence, Clinical Skills Training, Motivational Interviewing, Counseling


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