A National Survey of Intimate Partner Violence Policy and Practice in U.S. Children’s Hospitals

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DOI: 10.1007/s10896-022-00384-8


The objectives of this study were to 1) assess intimate partner violence (IPV) policy and standard practices of United States (US) children’s hospitals, 2) describe system-level barriers to addressing IPV within children’s hospitals, and 3) explore potential associations between hospital system factors and standard IPV practices. For this cross-sectional survey of US children’s hospitals, we recruited a single individual from each hospital to complete an anonymous survey assessing hospital IPV policy and institution-level practice standards. Participants could upload their hospital’s IPV policy for review. We recruited via professional listservs and snowball sampling. Among 36 respondents, most were at academic (94%) and/or free-standing (66%) children’s hospitals in an urban setting (77%). Most (79%) reported having a hospital IPV policy. Most policies included standard response to IPV disclosure (86%), guidelines for child protective services (CPS) reporting related to IPV (75%), IPV documentation (71%), and IPV screening (68%). Review of provided policies revealed variability in other components, including indications for CPS reporting, which were subjective at some institutions. Most (71%) reported their hospital actively partnered with a community IPV agency. Hospitals that partnered with a community IPV agency were more likely to report employee IPV education (84% vs. 40%, p 0.02), availability of an IPV advocate (76% vs. 20%, p 0.006), and use of environmental IPV cues (e.g., posters; 80% vs. 40%, p 0.04). This exploratory study found variability in IPV policy and institution-level practices between hospitals. Further work is needed to better define and disseminate best practices to address IPV in children’s hospitals.

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Journal of Family Violence



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