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Intimate Partner Violence Screening in the Veterans Health Administration: Demographic and Military Service Characteristics.

Dichter ME, Haywood TN, Butler AE, Bellamy SL, Iverson KM. Intimate Partner Violence Screening in the Veterans Health Administration: Demographic and Military Service Characteristics. American journal of preventive medicine. 2017 Jun 1; 52(6):761-768.

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INTRODUCTION: Intimate partner violence (IPV) includes psychological, physical, or sexual aggression by a current or former intimate partner and is associated with a wide range of health and social impacts, especially for women. Women veterans may be at increased risk for experiencing IPV, and some Veterans Health Administration (VHA) facilities have initiated routine screening of female patients for past-year IPV. This study presents the first examination of clinical IPV screening responses recorded from female VHA patients across 13 facilities nationwide, and identifies associations with patient demographic and military service characteristics. METHODS: Electronic medical record data were extracted for a cohort of 8,885 female VHA patients who completed screening for experience of past-year IPV during a clinic visit between April 2014 and April 2016. Analyses, conducted in 2016, examined the overall proportion of patients screening positive for IPV, as well as associations by demographic and military service characteristics. RESULTS: Overall, 8.7% of patients screened positive for past-year IPV. Odds of screening positive for IPV were higher among women who were younger (aged < 35 years); married; served in the most recent conflict era; experienced sexual assault or harassment during military service; or had not served in the military (non-veterans). CONCLUSIONS: Study findings indicate a significant proportion of female VHA patients disclosing past-year IPV during clinical screening, and identify characteristics associated with increased vulnerability. Implications for future research and program implementation include addressing high-risk subpopulations and further investigating the impact of screening and follow-up care.

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