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Understanding and managing intimate partner violence in the pediatric primary care setting

a review

Wang, Amanda Y.; Pannell, Melissa

doi: 10.1097/MOP.0000000000000818
OFFICE PEDIATRICS: Edited by Henry H. Bernstein

Purpose of review To highlight the impact of intimate partner violence (IPV), also known as domestic violence, on children and families and to provide a framework for pediatricians in managing IPV-affected families.

Recent findings Children living with a victim of IPV are at a much higher risk of being physically abused themselves. Exposure to IPV places children at high risk for multiple adverse childhood experiences, long-term health morbidity, and increased chance of intergenerational transmission of child abuse and future IPV. Exposure to a violent home environment alone is considered a form of child maltreatment. Furthermore, recent studies have proposed that maternal posttraumatic stress disorder and ineffective parenting styles by a victim of IPV mediate children's negative developmental outcomes, such as aggressive or internalizing behavior, mental health issues, and developmental delays. Trauma-informed care and a better understanding of the child abuse reporting process allow pediatricians to address specific needs of children and families exposed to IPV, to serve as mandated reporters with sensitivity and empathy, and to promote resiliency in families.

Summary IPV is a public health issue that affects children in a variety of ways. Pediatricians can better manage this very serious and personal issue in their offices through an understanding of the unique healthcare needs of children and families impacted by IPV.

Division of General Pediatrics, Department of Pediatrics, Cohen Children's Medical Center, New Hyde Park, New York, USA

Correspondence to Melissa Pannell, LMSW, Division of General Pediatrics, Department of Pediatrics, Cohen Children's Medical Center, 410 Lakeville Road, New Hyde Park, NY 11042, USA. Tel: +1 516 465 5310; e-mail:

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