Universal Domestic Violence Screening Not Beneficial

No improvement in physical or mental quality of life, health, or further partner violence

TUESDAY, Aug. 14 (HealthDay News) -- Screening for partner violence at the primary care level does not improve women's health or quality of life, or reduce further partner violence, according to a study published in the Aug. 15 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association.

Noting that numerous professional and health care organizations have recommended partner violence screening at the primary care level, Joanne Klevens, M.D., Ph.D., from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta, and colleagues randomly assigned 2,708 women from primary health centers to either a partner violence screen and (if screening was positive) a list of local partner violence resources (909 participants); a partner violence resource list only (no screening) (893 participants); or no screening and no partner violence list (898 participants).

At one year, the researchers found no significant differences in physical or mental quality of life between the three groups. The three groups were also similar in terms of days unable to work, days unable to complete housework, number of hospitalizations, number of visits to the emergency department or ambulatory care, the proportion who contacted a partner violence agency, or further partner violence.

"There are now two large-scale trials specifically evaluating partner violence screening that have remarkably consistent results: universal screening does not improve women's health or life quality or reduce reexposure to partner violence," write the authors of an accompanying editorial. "It is time to enact an approach in which individual women are assessed according to their presenting histories, which include symptoms and risks."

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