After completing a review of current evidence pertaining to screening for intimate partner violence in various patient groups, the US Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) has updated its recommendation that health practitioners monitor for such violence in women of reproductive age and provide support services if screening is positive. These findings form the basis of a final recommendation statement published online in JAMA.

To update the 2013 USPSTF recommendation on screening for elder abuse, abuse of vulnerable adults, and intimate partner violence, the task force reviewed the available data on screening for this form of violence in men, women, and adolescents. The current systematic review differed from the 2013 version and includes evidence in 2 additional groups, adolescents and men. However, the current review did not contain evidence surrounding screening or interventions for perpetration of this type of violence.

The USPSTF recommends screening for intimate partner violence in women of childbearing age in addition to providing or referring to ongoing support services for those who screen positive. In addition, they report there is evidence to support the use of existing screening tools to detect intimate partner violence in women accurately.

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With respect to abuse of vulnerable adults and elder abuse, the USPSTF stated that available data for screening in these groups remains indeterminate — revealing both harms and benefits.

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“The USPSTF concludes that the current evidence is insufficient to assess the balance of benefits and harms of screening for abuse and neglect in all older or vulnerable adults,” the task force wrote.

Further studies are needed to fully understand the benefits and harms of screening in populations vulnerable to abuse.


US Preventive Services Task Force; Curry SJ, Krist AH, Owens DK, et al. Screening for intimate partner violence, elder abuse, and abuse of vulnerable adults: US Preventive Services Task Force final recommendation statement. JAMA. 2018;320(16):1678-1687.