VHA Primary Care Providers’ Perspectives on Screening Female Veterans for Intimate Partner Violence: A Preliminary Assessment
Female Veterans experience intimate partner violence (IPV) at alarming rates. The Veterans Health Administration (VHA) requires foundational research to guide the development of policy and programs to detect IPV among women Veterans and provide interventions. This pilot study reports findings from in-depth qualitative interviews conducted with 12 VHA primary care providers treating female Veterans in the New England region. Although most providers indicated that they were not currently routinely screening for IPV, they expressed positive attitudes and beliefs about screening in VHA primary care settings. Themes also included the importance of a comprehensive health care response to IPV, such as interdisciplinary coordination of care and team-based approaches to detection and intervention. Barriers to routine screening were identified, as well as recommendations for training programs and clinical tools to inform the successful implementation of a standardized IPV screening and response program in VHA. Although preliminary, these findings represent an initial step in an essential line of research.