New Resources to Help Pediatricians Support IPV Survivors

doctor with child image associated with the health blog

We’re excited to share several new resources that can help pediatric healthcare teams support intimate partner violence (IPV) survivors and their children. This includes updated clinical guidelines from the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), as well as training and practice resources from The National Health Resource Center at Futures Without Violence.

Pediatricians know that supporting parents and other caregivers is a critical part of how they support children’s health and wellbeing. Pediatric healthcare settings provide unique opportunities for families experiencing IPV to access support and resources. Research suggests that even when IPV survivors don’t see a doctor for themselves, they continue to bring their children to the pediatrician. Also, talking about IPV in the context of how it impacts children’s health and providing resources for IPV during a child’s health visit is something that most parents find acceptable.

It can be challenging to address IPV during a pediatric health visit. There are a lot of things to cover during that visit, and sometimes it’s hard to know what to say or how to say it when it comes to talking about IPV. The following resources provide guidance on best practices to support IPV survivors and their children while ensuring safety.

The AAP recently released the updated clinical report, Intimate Partner Violence: The Role of the Pediatrician. Key components of this guidance include:

  • Universal education as a means to support all survivors, including those who do not disclose IPV during a pediatric health visit;
  • Importance of validating survivors’ lived experiences and supporting family resilience;
  • Maximizing safety for IPV survivors and their children;
  • Collaboration with community partners to facilitate warm referrals to IPV advocacy services and other community resources;
  • Awareness of structural and system factors that impact the experiences and needs of IPV survivors; and
  • Awareness of applicable state laws, particularly those related to reporting concerns of abuse or child exposure to IPV.

Our resources can also help pediatric health teams support IPV survivors. These include:

  • The new Connected Parents, Connected Kids card– This small safety card can help you support survivors through universal education.
  • Domestic Violence and Child Abuse Reports: A Complex Matter – This resource helps pediatric providers reduce the harm that may occur with child protective services reporting in the context of IPV, through mandatory supporting and close attention to child and survivor safety.
  • COMING SOON TO The Pediatrician’s Role in Addressing Intimate Partner Violence – This 2-part training provides practical information for pediatric practice, including implementing universal education, supporting survivors after IPV disclosure, considerations around reducing harm when making mandated reports, scripts and more.

We encourage you to check out these resources and consider what practice changes you can make to better support IPV survivors and their children. Some ideas include:

  • Develop a universal education script that works for you & your practice;
  • Create a universal resource sheet that includes local and/or national IPV helpline numbers;
  • Make connections & develop formalized partnerships with community IPV agencies;
  • Develop privacy protocols and standard processes that can be used for families experiencing IPV;
  • Provide environmental cues, such as IPV posters and pamphlets in exam rooms and bathrooms; and
  • Continue to educate yourself & your team

Thank you to our guest contributors:

Maya Ragavan, MD, MPH, MS, Assistant Professor of Pediatrics, University of Pittsburgh and UPMC Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh
Kimberly Randell, MD, MSc, Division of Emergency Medicine Children’s Mercy Kansas City, Professor of Pediatrics, UMKC School of Medicine