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Women who have been subjected to violence often seek health care, including for their injuries, even if they do not disclose the associated abuse or violence. A health-care provider is likely to be the first professional contact for survivors of intimate partner violence or sexual assault. Statistics show that abused women use health-care services more than non-abused women do. They also identify health-care providers as the professionals they would most trust with disclosure of abuse.
These guidelines aim to provide evidencebased guidance to health-care providers on the appropriate responses to intimate partner violence and sexual violence against women, including clinical interventions and emotional support. They also seek to raise awareness, among health-care providers and policymakers, of violence against women, to better understand the need for an appropriate healthsector response to violence against women.
The guidelines are based on systematic reviews of the evidence on identification and clinical care for intimate partner violence, clinical care for sexual assault, and training relating to intimate partner violence and sexual assault against women, as well as policy and programmatic approaches to delivering services and mandatory reporting of intimate partner violence.
They provide standards that can act as the basis for national guidelines, and for integrating these issues into health-care provider education, as well as helping healthcare providers to be better informed about the care of women experiencing sexual assault and intimate partner violence.
Although men are also victims of partner violence and sexual assault, these guidelines focus on women, because they experience more sexual violence, more severe physical violence, and more coercive control from male partners. However, much of the advice given will be relevant in respect of violence against women by family members other than intimate partners and may be relevant for partner abuse of men. Some of the advice will also be relevant to sexual assault of men