This chapter provides an overview of IPAV healthcare provider education and training, and outlines the training content, methods and support required for enhancing knowledge, attitudes and behaviours regarding IPAV. It may be used as a resource to guide continuous professional development and improve educational and skill development for care of patients experiencing IPAV.
IPAV is the largest contributor to morbidity and mortality for young women.10 It is associated with poor physical/mental health, developmental and behavioural issues in children, child abuse and intergenerational trauma.11,12
Healthcare providers have a key role in addressing this public health problem, through early identification and supportive care of all family members exposed to IPAV. Therefore, effectively training healthcare providers is one part of the solution to improving the health system response to IPAV.
However, because the health effects of IPAV are poorly recognised, many healthcare providers have had no or very limited undergraduate/postgraduate or professional development in responding to or managing IPAV.13,14
Some providers avoid engaging with patients experiencing IPAV because of lack of time to discuss issues, poor acknowledgement of patient circumstances and/or to avoid complex consultations and disclosures they do not know how to manage.15 Other individual and environmental barriers, like language/cultural differences, partner presence and lack of privacy and resources, can affect provider behaviour to engage in IPAV work.16
Many providers have poor knowledge of IPAV, feel unprepared and lack confidence in asking about IPAV in clinical practice.17–19 IPAV training and education can overcome some of these barriers and lead to improved care and outcomes for victims/survivors. Embracing a reflective practice approach that includes monitoring of clients experiencing IPAV and using feedback from services can inform and enhance future clinical practice.2
Failure to provide adequate healthcare provider IPAV education and training can leave victims/survivors feeling judged, isolated and potentially at further risk of violence.20 An empathic and supportive response from a well-trained healthcare provider can act as a catalyst for patients, motivating them to make changes in their lives.21 Inquiry from a provider who is committed and ready to address IPAV is the first step towards helping patients.9
A meta-synthesis of 41 qualitative studies exploring healthcare provider views (n = 1744) on what enhances their readiness to address domestic violence and abuse found that training embedded within a supportive healthcare system, along with provider commitment, adopting an advocacy approach, trust and team collaboration (the CATCH model, refer to Figure 21.1), all facilitate healthcare provider readiness to practise IPAV work.9
Figure 21.1. The CATCH of model of health practitioner readiness to address intimate partner violence9
Source: Hegarty K, McKibbin G, Hameed M, et al. Health practitioners' readiness to address domestic violence and abuse: A qualitative meta-synthesis. PLoS One 2020;15:e0234067.