The US Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) has found that screening for intimate partner violence (IPV) is beneficial for reproductive-aged women, although there is inadequate evidence to weigh the balance of benefits and harms of screening for abuse in elderly and vulnerable adults, according to a draft recommendation statement published by the task force.
The task force reviewed studies that included women from adolescence to about age 40 years, with most research focusing on women aged 18 years or older. This review identified 15 fair-quality studies (n=4,460) that assessed the accuracy of 12 screening tools for IPV.
The USPSTF found adequate evidence that available screening instruments can identify IPV in women. The task force found inadequate evidence to assess the accuracy of screening instruments designed to detect elder abuse or abuse of vulnerable adults.
The USPSTF found inadequate direct evidence that screening for IPV can reduce violence, abuse, and physical or mental harms in adults and adolescents. However, the task force found adequate evidence that effective interventions can reduce violence, abuse, and physical or mental harms in women of reproductive age.
The USPSTF concluded with moderate certainty that screening for IPV in women of reproductive age and providing or referring women who screen positive to ongoing support services has a moderate net benefit. The task force also concluded that the benefits and harms of screening for elder abuse or abuse of vulnerable adults are uncertain and that the balance of benefits and harms cannot be determined.
This recommendation replaces the USPSTF’s 2013 recommendation.
US Preventive Services Task Force. Intimate Partner Violence, Elder Abuse, and Abuse of Vulnerable Adults: Screening. April 2018. Accessible at: https://www.uspreventiveservicestaskforce.org/Page/Document/draft-recommendation-statement/intimate-partner-violence-and-abuse-of-elderly-and-vulnerable-adults-screening1