, Volume 20, Issue 6, pp 536-540

Evaluation of a women’s safe shelter experience to teach internal medicine residents about intimate partner violence

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Although intimate partner violence (IPV) remains a major public health problem, physicians often fail to screen female patients. Reported IPV training approaches suffer from weak study designs and limited outcome assessments. We hypothesized that an educational experience for residents at a women’s safe shelter would have significantly greater impact on IPV competencies, screening, and care for victims than a workshop seminar alone. In a pre-post randomized controlled trial, we compared residents exposed to the workshop seminar alone (controls) to residents exposed to these methods plus an experience at a women’s safe shelter (cases). Competencies were assessed by written questionnaire and included knowledge, skills, attitudes, resource awareness, and screening behaviors. Of the 36 residents in the trial, 22 (61%) completed both pre- and postquestionnaires. Compared to controls, cases showed significantly greater pre-post improvement in the knowledge composite subscale. There were no significant differences between cases and controls in the subscales of skills, attitudes, or resource awareness. Cases increased their self-reported screening frequency but this did not differ significantly from the controls. Enhancing traditional IPV curriculum with a women’s safe shelter educational experience may result in small improvements in residents’ knowledge about IPV.

None of the authors had any potential conflicts of interest.
This work was completed while Dr. Brienza and Ms. Ladouceur were affiliated with Yale University Department of Internal Medicine.