UVA-developed intervention for abused, pregnant women reduces exposure to violence, improves lives

A-letter  novel 10- to 20-minute assessment and intervention program developed at UVA has been found to significantly decrease exposure to violence during and after pregnancy for up to two years postpartum, according to new research published in the Journal of Women's Health.

Between a fifth and a quarter of American women experience relationship violence at some point during their lives. While about 4 percent of U.S. women experience abuse during pregnancy, the number of poor, single women experiencing intimate partner violence during pregnancy climbs to roughly 30 percent.

And despite robust evidence that violence experienced during pregnancy exerts a dramatic effect on infants – babies born to abused mothers are more often premature, born at a low birth weight, small for their gestational age and often experience cognitive and emotional delays throughout childhood – screening for intimate partner violence during pregnancy continues to be uncommon, despite the increased frequency of clinic visits.

“Given the stakes,” said UVA Nursing researcher Linda Bullock, “it’s imperative that clinicians screen all women, and repeatedly, so that evidence-based programs like ours can be introduced to combat the ill effects of violence in the home. You can’t help abused women until you confirm abuse is taking place.” more ... >>