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By Linda Chamberlain PhD, MPH

Intimate partner violence (IPV) is inextricably intertwined with health disparities among women and children.  In our feature article, Drs. Phyllis Sharps and Jacqueline Campbell describe the interfaces between IPV and heath disparities for women of color.  The Family Violence Prevention Fund is currently working on a special initiative with the Association of Maternal and Child Health Programs (AMCHP) to address perinatal health disparities and IPV prevention.  This issue of Family Violence Prevention and Health Practice solicited brief reports on innovative initiatives that are addressing IPV within the context of health disparities.  Three of the program reports featured in this issue address the interface between violence and HIV/AIDS that disproportionately impacts women of color and developing countries.

The Family Violence Prevention Fund recently conducted a literature review to examine the connections between sexual childhood abuse, adolescent and adult victimization by an intimate partner, and reproductive health.  We were impressed by the growing body of evidence documenting the impact of violence on women’s and adolescents’ reproductive health.  Many of these studies report that women of color are at significantly higher risk of being victimized and, consequently, suffering from adverse reproductive health outcomes.  These findings became the catalyst for the Fund to develop new resources for the Public Health Toolkit  that address IPV as a health disparity issue for sexual and reproductive health.  An annotated bibliography on IPV and reproductive health is now available from the Fund.


Whether we are looking at reproductive health, women’s health, maternal health, chronic diseases, or other health issues, IPV has major implications. Violence creates a toxic environment for health disparities to thrive and compromise health.  Victimization by an intimate partner impedes access to health care, promotes disease, obstructs economic opportunities, and is highly correlated with leading health disparities.  IPV and health disparities share two common and devastating attributes: they are defined by inequity and oppression.  IPV should be an integral part of any intervention and prevention strategy to address health disparities among women.

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Family Violence Prevention Fund Health eJournal

ISSN 1556-4827
Copyright © 2006 Family Violence Prevention Fund
All rights reserved