Intimate partner violence (IPV) is a major issue that concerns the public health sector all over the world. Such type of abuse is referred to as violent behavior between couples. The World Health Organization defines IPV as “any behavior within an intimate relationship that causes physical, psychological or sexual harm to those in the relationship” (World Health Organization, 2012, p. 1). Millions of people in the relationship get involved in intimate partner violence every year, which results in fatal incidents, severe physical and psychological traumas. Therefore, healthcare providers need to know about all procedures and actions that can be taken to prevent or help terminate such toxic behavior.
This synthesis report is based on three scholarly peer-reviewed articles that deeply analyze the nature of intimate partner violence. The first article, “Intimate partner violence in the golden age: Systematic review of risk and protective factors” by Gerino et al. (2018), explores all risks and protective factors related to IPV by referring to many previous studies on this topic. The article helps comprehend the causes of such behavior within the relationships and find preventive measures to it, which is crucial for a healthcare provider. The second article, “Cognitive reframing of intimate partner aggression: social and contextual influences” (2018), is an in-depth review of social aspects that trigger an individual’s violent behavior. Such information is vital for understanding the causes of IPV that, consequently, leads to finding novel interventions for preventing it. The last scholarly article used for collecting data about intimate partner violence is “Short-term interventions for survivors of intimate partner violence: a systematic review and meta-analysis” (2016). This article is of significant aid to any health practitioner as it suggests effective interferences that contribute to terminating aggressive behavior in a couple’s relationship.
Violence within relationships is more common than one can imagine. According to National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey, more than a third of women and a quarter of men have ever been a victim of any kind of physical harassment and/or abuse in the United States only (Arroyo et al., 2016). In most cases, people refer to intimate partner violence solely as the notions of physical abuse; however, all analyzed studies agree that such behavior goes far beyond such a form of aggression. Moreover, most IPV victims develop mental health traumas like anxiety, depression, and post-traumatic stress disorders that frequently outlast the physical effects of abuse (Goodfriend & Arriaga, 2018). The psychological influence of violence requires a much longer time to treat and process compared to tangible outcomes of damage in the relationships.
Survivors of intimate partner violence also experience the socio-economic consequences of such abusive relationships. Survivors are frequently forced to leave their households and stay in special shelters for those who experienced IPV due to limited economic resources, which contribute to the progression of mental issues as well (Arroyo et al., 2016). Therefore, many domestic violence sufferers, who do not have access to additional help, end up under the poverty line and are forced to live in specific shelters for IPV victims to escape their perpetrators.
Shelters for the sufferers of intimate partner violence provide psychological therapy for the residents; however, at times, they become obsolete and require a more individual approach to the complex mental state of every victim. IPV victims have a more convoluted set of needs that require the highest level of safety, finding a new approach of communicating with others, addiction battle monitoring, coping with mental issues, returning to a stable economic life, etc. Thus, shelters usually provide short-term therapy for the period of living in shelters, which ends after individual leaves it. Certainly, even a brief period of treatment is helpful with rehabilitation from domestic violence; thus, its effectiveness may fade if it stops halfway (Arroyo et al., 2016). Hence, such an issue must be managed, and intimate partner violence victims should have access to constant psychological help for the period of recovering from such a traumatic experience.
In many cases, the victims deny the happening of IPV and refer to it jokingly; moreover, they do not plan to leave the partner after one incident of violent behavior. This cognitive reframing frequently stems from the people who are dependent on their relationship; therefore, they tend to devalue the abuse (Goodfriend & Arriaga, 2018). Other victims of domestic violence tend to blame themselves for such inadequate treatment. They are so consumed and controlled by their partner that individuals find the cause of the abuse in their behavior.
One of the studies states that in many abusive relationships, the victim experiences cognitive dissonance. They are justifying aggressive behavior to reconcile their romantic connection and excuse the aggression (Goodfriend & Arriaga, 2018). Portraying an instigator as a victim of a larger issue like alcoholism or narcotic addiction condones violence for the other partner in some cases. Justifying aggressive behavior by defending the partner is a sign of toxic influence in the relationship. In case, if a health practitioner notices such behavior of denying apparent physical abuse, he/she must find a specific approach to help the victim of intimate partner violence and break the cycle of aggressive action.
Healthcare practitioners can be one of the first people to identify a problem of intimate partner violence in the relationship; therefore, they must know the right techniques of approach to the victims. Intimate partner violence is a multidisciplinary issue that involves the collaboration of the healthcare sector, the legal system, social organizations, and the community. Therefore, attending a program focusing on domestic violence or completing seminars on this topic must be a mandatory event for every health care professional due to a complexity of a problem that requires particular skills to identify and, consequently, correctly address it.
Knowledge of various interventions aimed to manage the issue of domestic violence is vital for me as a healthcare practitioner. Studies confirm that individually adapted IPV programs show significantly more effect and faster recovery compared to eclectic and generalized interventions (Arroyo et al., 2016). The ability to identify the problem, its cause, and specific details is a significant accomplishment for the health providers. As more information is provided, the more effective intervention can be applied to the victim. Therefore, I became convinced that a health practitioner must precisely know as many methods, preventive measures, and subsidiary resources as possible to provide qualified help in breaking the cycle of aggression.
The issue of intimate partner violence is of major significance for every health practitioner. IPV occurs in all settings and among every possible social and economic class of the population. It is an extremely sensitive issue that requires a comprehensive knowledge of various methods, interventions, and treatments that can help prevent and terminate the cycle of abusive behavior. Many causes and factors instigate the aggressive actions of one of the partners in the relationship; therefore, it is vital to identify the exact reason to create the most effective interventions. IPV has many psychological circumstances for both instigators and victims; for that reason, the issue of such behavior must be of significant concern for not only the healthcare field but also the community.
Arroyo, K., Lundahl, B., Butters, R., Vanderloo, M., & Wood, D. S. (2016). Short-Term Interventions for Survivors of Intimate Partner Violence. Trauma, Violence, & Abuse, 18(2), 155–171.
Gerino, E., Caldarera, A. M., Curti, L., Brustia, P., & Rollè, L. (2018). Intimate Partner Violence in the Golden Age: Systematic Review of Risk and Protective Factors. Frontiers in Psychology, 9, 1–14.
Goodfriend, W., & Arriaga, X. (2018). Cognitive Reframing of Intimate Partner Aggression: Social and Contextual Influences. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 15(11), 1–13.
World Health Organization. (2012). Intimate partner violence.