Health Care Response to Violence Against Women
SAFETY ALERT: If you are in danger please call 911 or
the 24-hour Iowa Domestic Violence Helpline at 1-800-770-1650 or the Iowa Sexual Abuse Hotline at 1-800-284-7821.
The health care response to violence against women program offers resources for health care providers to improve their responses to victims of domestic violence and sexual assault.
Domestic violence refers to a pattern of assaultive and coercive behaviors that adults or adolescents use against their intimate partners. It may include physical, sexual and psychological attacks, as well as economic coercion. While domestic violence is difficult to accurately measure, national surveys indicate that one out of every four women report they have been physically abused by a husband or boyfriend at some point in their lives. While relatively few women report the abuse to law enforcement authorities, many are seen by health care providers, who have the opportunity to identify the abuse, provide education, and intervene before the abuse becomes fatal. In Iowa all hospitals are required to have a protocol in place for the identifying and intervening with patients who experience domestic violence (Iowa Administrative Code  51.7(3).
A sexual assault is a sexual act that is forced or coerced. A person of any age, gender, race/ethnicity, or economic status can be sexually assaulted. In Iowa, we estimate that one in ten people will experience a forced sexual contact in their lifetimes.
The program, under the direction of the violence prevention coordinator, collaborates to:
- develop protocols, identify resources, and develop training materials for health care providers across the state,
- assist with activities for Health Cares About Domestic Violence Day, which is held every October during Domestic Violence Awareness month,
- assist with activities during Sexual Assault Awareness Month, which is held during every April,
- arrange training and technical assistance to health care providers seeking to improve their facility's response to domestic abuse and sexual assault, and
- support the development of Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner/Sexual Assault Response Teams in Iowa.
The program is funded through a federal STOP Violence Against Women Act grant that is contracted by the Iowa Department of Justice.
Resources for Use with Patients:
Health Cares About Domestic Violence Day