Overview: Intimate partner violence is a major health care issue, affecting nearly 6% of U.S. women annually. Multiple mental and physical health problems are associated with intimate partner violence, and billions of health care dollars are spent in trying to address the consequences. Although prevalence rates of intimate partner violence are roughly the same in rural and nonrural areas, rural survivors face distinct barriers in obtaining help and services. Because rural women routinely access health care services in nonrural as well as rural settings, it’s essential that all providers understand the issues specific to rural survivors. Routine screening for intimate partner violence would create opportunities for women to disclose abuse and for providers to help victims obtain assistance and support that may keep them safer. This in turn would likely decrease serious health sequelae and lower health care costs. This article describes the unique aspects of intimate partner violence in rural populations. It also describes a simple screening tool that can be used in all settings, discusses ways to approach the topic and facilitate disclosure, and addresses interventions; relevant resources are also provided.
Rural survivors sometimes seek care in nonrural settings; indeed, most providers can expect to see such patients. All nurses, not just rural nurses, need to understand the unique issues faced by women who experience intimate partner violence in rural areas.
This article provides an overview of these issues and discusses the implications for practice.
From the American Journal of Nursing – Complete paper