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Resources About Healthcare and Primary Prevention

Many healthcare providers understand the impact of domestic violence from screening patients and treating the aftermath of relationship abuse. Relationships affect your patients' health. How can healthcare providers help to prevent domestic violence from happening in the first place?

Invest in Prevention During Routine Office Visits

It can be as simple as talking to youth and young adults about healthy relationships and fostering a norm that relationships should not be violent. According to the Prevention Institute, it’s a matter of adding an emphasis on primary prevention.

  • During routine healthcare visits, do a “health and lifestyle survey,” ask - What do you and your friends like to do? Are you dating someone? What do you and that person enjoy doing? What do your friends think about the person you’re dating?
  • Engage expectant fathers as well as mothers about healthy families, good communication and support for each other.
  • Have materials about healthy relationships, such as posters and palm cards in the office.
  • Make sure the office is a safe and reliable place to talk about healthy relationships as well as unhealthy ones.
  • Create an ongoing relationship with the local domestic violence program, and their medical advocate, for referrals and staff questions and training on primary prevention strategies.
  • Invite the local domestic violence program advocates to train and prepare staff to discuss questions about relationships.
  • Partner with the local domestic violence program, family planning organization, and school nurses on a community task force dedicated to youth programs and campaigns that engage men and boys, expectant fathers, and send healthy relationship messages.


The Violence Prevention Page at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website has more information on primary prevention strategies for violence as a public health problem, including definitions, survey and research summaries, as well as a Teen Dating Violence Factsheet.

Futures Without Violence has innovative projects, toolkits and many resources to assist healthcare practitioners including posters, handouts, policy papers and recommendations:
Is Your Relationship Affecting your Health? guides patients to assess their relationships. (Palm card in English, Spanish and Chinese)
Hanging Out or Hooking Up Clinical Guidelines on Responding to Adolescent Relationship Abuse: An Integrated Approach to Prevention and Intervention, focuses on potential for the adolescent health care provider to prevent, identify and address adolescent relationship abuse. It is a great resource for pediatricians, family practices, and family planning clinics.
Hanging Out or Hooking Up Palm Card for patients. This card encourages all teens to consider how their boyfriend/girlfriend treats them, identify dynamics of healthy relationships and signs that may indicate abuse. The card also explores how teens can handle excessive text messaging, pressure to have sex and ability to use birth control. Tips are provided to those wanting to support a friend who may be facing relationship abuse.
More tools for health practitioners from Futures Without Violence

Men Can Stop Rape has a variety of tools and resources on engaging men and boys. The website has information on the Strength Campaign, MOST Clubs and other tools for engaging young men to prevent violence against women. “My Strength Is Not For Hurting” and other handouts and posters are appropriate for rooms where providers see young men who are dating and sexually active.

Recommended Readings: Health Consequences of Domestic Violence

Basile, K.C. & Smith, S.G. (2011) Sexual Violence Victimization of Women: Prevalence, Characteristics, and the Role of Public Health and Prevention Violence Prevention and Lifestyle Medicine: An Imperative for All Healthcare Practitioners, 5(5), 407-417.

Recommended Readings: Implementing Primary Prevention Strategies in Healthcare Settings

Before It Occurs: Primary Prevention of Intimate Partner Violence and Abuse, Prevention Institute

Clinical Preventative Services for Women: Closing the Gaps:

Black, M.C. Intimate Partner Violence and Adverse Health Consequences: Implications for Clinicians in Violence Prevention and Lifestyle Medicine: An Imperative for All Healthcare Practitioners, September/October 2011, vol. 5 no. 5 428-439.

Opportunities for Prevention: Addressing IPV in the Healthcare Setting, Ann L. Coker, PhD

Violence Prevention and Lifestyle Medicine: An Imperative for All Health Care Practitioners, special edition of the American Journal of Lifestyle Medicine, September/October 2011.

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