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Domestic violence/interpersonal violence, Universal screening, Perinatal nurses, Barriers



  1. Furniss, Kathleen DMH, RN
  2. McCaffrey, Mary RNC
  3. Parnell, Vereene MDiv
  4. Rovi, Susan PhD


Purpose: To elicit thoughts from perinatal and emergency room nurses about barriers to screening for intimate partner violence (IPV).


Design and Methods: A survey was developed and distributed in hospitals and on a national perinatal listserv. Three hundred eighty-five nurses responded.


Results: Responses were grouped by content into the four most prominent categories: lack of privacy and time, need for resources and protocols, legal questions, and personal belief issues. The survey found that time alone with the patient to ask sensitive questions and offer support and safety information is a challenge for nurses, as are language barriers.


Clinical Implications: Nurses who completed this survey suggested that routine screening intervals during prenatal care and after delivery may improve identification of IPV, because privacy may be less of a challenge in a clinic or office. Nurses would like brief, clear resources that include local IPV services and hotline numbers. They also would like regular continuing education about IPV in the clinical setting, including all aspects of IPV assessment, identification, and management.