Journal of Family Violence

, Volume 29, Issue 1, pp 67–78 | Cite as

Asking Routinely About Intimate Partner Violence in a Child and Adolescent Psychiatric Clinic: A Qualitative Study

  • Ole HultmannEmail author
  • Johan Möller
  • Silje M. Ormhaug
  • Anders Broberg
Issues in Assessment of Family Violence


Among children visiting child and adolescent psychiatric clinics (CAP), the prevalence of exposure to intimate partner violence (IPV) is reported to be approximately 25 %. The extent to which CAP clinicians are aware of this violence, however, is unclear. Some researchers recommend asking about IPV at intake, both to raise disclosure rates and to ensure adequate treatment. Many clinicians are reluctant to do so as a matter of routine when there is no indication of occurrence of IPV in the family. When we interviewed 14 clinicians about their experiences using a standard questionnaire about IPV, three themes emerged: (a) constraint (the questions hinder the development of good relationships with patients), (b) uncertainty (upon reflection, screening is acknowledged as important, but somewhat deficient), and (c) utility (the questionnaire provides a useful framework). Our findings indicate that clinicians’ negative feelings and ambivalence make the implementation of routinely asking about IPV a long process.


Intimate partner violence Child psychiatry Routine questions Obstacles 



This project was supported by grants from Children’s Welfare Association, Sweden, Crime Victim Compensation and Support Authority and The Mayflower Charity Foundation for Children. Associate professor Inga Tidefors at Department of Psychology, university of Gothenburg kindly supported with her expertise in qualitative analysis.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ole Hultmann
    • 1
    Email author
  • Johan Möller
    • 2
  • Silje M. Ormhaug
    • 3
  • Anders Broberg
    • 4
  1. 1.Department of PsychologyUniversity of GothenburgGothenburgSweden
  2. 2.Queen Silvia Children’s HospitalGothenburgSweden
  3. 3.Norwegian Centre for Violence and Traumatic StressOsloNorway
  4. 4.Department of PsychologyUniversity of GothenburgGothenburgSweden

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