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Domestic Violence, Emergency Medicine

Reviewed 06/2017



  • Intimate partner violence (IPV) is the physical, sexual, or psychological abuse by a current or former partner.

  • Occurs in adult and adolescent intimate relationships across the socioe...


Asking specifically about IPV increases likelihood of identifying victims. 

Signs and Symptoms

  • Traumatic injuries:

    • Wide variety of presentations

    • Unwitnessed head, neck, facial injuries are commo...



  • Customary trauma evaluation and treatment

  • An accurate description of events by EMS should be incorporated into the medical record.

Initial Stabilization/Therapy

  • Provide timely and a...



Admission Criteria

  • Use appropriate admission guidelines depending on degree of trauma sustained.

  • A patient who is medically stable for discharge but whose safety is at imminent risk...

Pearls and Pitfalls

  • Failure to consider IPV in the differential diagnosis of the patient's chief complaint.

  • Failure to provide thorough, objective documentation of the details of the assault and physic...

Additional Reading

  • Hancock  M. Intimate partner violence and abuse. In: Tintinalli  J, Stapczynski  J, John Ma  O, Cline  D, eds. Tintinalli's Emergency Medicine: A Comprehensive Study Guide. 7th ed. ...



  • 995.81 Adult physical abuse

  • 995.82 Adult emotional/psychological abuse

  • 995.83 Adult sexual abuse


  • T74.11XA Adult physical abuse, confirmed, initial encounter

  • T74.21XA Adult sexual abuse, con...

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