Safe+Sound Somerset’s Manager of Community Outreach & Education, Victor Peralta, spent two days in late July training the doctors, nurses and other healthcare and office staff at Family Faith Health Care (FFHC) in North Plainfield about Intimate Partner Violence (IPV) and the evidence-based HARK screening tool for IPV. IPV can have short and long-term impacts on physical health outcomes, contributing to higher rates of depression and anxiety, suicide ideation, substance abuse, and high blood pressure. Mr. Peralta focused on the purpose and use of the tool, as well as the critical role that healthcare staff can play in identifying and connecting individuals experiencing domestic and sexual violence to resources providing safety, hope, and healing.
Maria Birotte-Sanchez, M.D., Medical Director at Faith Family Health Care and Assistant Clinical Professor of Family Medicine at Rutgers New Jersey Medical School shared, “We recognize that abuse is an ongoing problem in our society, and we are very fortunate to have organizations such as Safe+Sound Somerset that provide resources in our community.” Dr. Birotte-Sanchez said that HARK will be delivered by frontline healthcare staff at Family Faith Health Center in yearly physicals and other appointment with clients to identify IPV and refer affected clients to Safe+Sound Somerset for services and support.
Screening for IPV in healthcare settings is a proven intervention strategy for both preventing future violence and contributing to improved health outcomes. By screening all patients for IPV and referring patients to appropriate IPV services, FFHC is increasing their community’s access to care and services.
More About Intimate Partner Violence
Intimate Partner Violence is abuse or aggression that occurs in a romantic relationship. “Intimate partner” refers to both current and former spouses and dating partners. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) identifies four types of intimate partner violence—physical violence, sexual violence, stalking, and psychological aggression. IPV can vary in how often it happens and how severe it is and can happen to anyone.
IPV is common affecting millions of people in the United States each year. Data from CDC’s National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey (NISVS) indicate that about 41% of women and 26% of men experienced contact sexual violence, physical violence, and/or stalking by an intimate partner and reported an intimate partner violence-related impact during their lifetime. Injury, posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) symptoms, concern for safety, fear, needing help from law enforcement, and missing at least one day of work are common impacts reported.
IPV starts early and continues throughout people’s lives. When IPV occurs in adolescence, it is called teen dating violence (TDV). TDV affects millions of U.S. teens each year. About 16 million women and 11 million men who reported experiencing sexual violence, physical violence, or stalking by an intimate partner in their lifetime said that they first experienced these forms of violence before the age of 18.
While violence impacts all people in the United States, some individuals, and communities experience inequities in risk for violence due to the social and structural conditions in which they live, work, and play. Adults and youth from groups that have been marginalized, such as sexual and gender minorities, are at greater risk of experiencing sexual and physical dating violence.
Safe+Sound Somerset is the only organization in Somerset County providing comprehensive services to survivors of domestic, dating, and sexual violence, and their families. Our compassionate, evidence-based programs support and empower survivors to create lives free from abuse. Safe+Sound Somerset’s programs include: Emergency Safe House; Domestic Violence, Sexual Assault, and Nonfatal Strangulation and Smothering Response Teams; Legal Advocacy/Court Accompaniment; Financial Empowerment/Housing First; Counseling for Adults and Children; and Community Outreach & Education.
For help or to request additional information about services, call or text our 24/7 helpline at 866-685-1122. Services are provided free of charge, in a confidential and culturally sensitive environment.