Development of a practice framework for improving nurses’ responses to Intimate Partner Violence

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Aims and objectives. The aim of this paper is to discuss critically the theoretical concepts of awareness, recognition and empowerment as manifested in intimate partner violence (IPV) and to show how these can be translated into a practice framework for improving nurses’ response.
Background. IPV is a universal problem and is considered a significant public health issue. Nurses are in an ideal position to recognize and respond to IPV but many lack confidence in this area of practice. In our previous empirical work we identified three concepts through which nurses’ responses to IPV can be understood: Awareness, Recognition and Empowerment. In this paper we advance nursing knowledge by showing how these concepts can form a practice framework to improve nurses’ responses to IPV.
Design. A discussion paper and development of a practice framework to improve nurses’ responses to IPV.

Discussion. The framework comprises three principal needs of women and related three key requirements for nurses to meet these needs. Arising from these are a range of practice outcomes: enhanced understanding of IPV, increased confidence in recognising IPV, establishment of trusting relationships, increased likelihood of disclosure, optimized safety.
Conclusions. Nurses sometimes lack confidence in recognizing and responding to IPV. Awareness, recognition and empowerment are important concepts that can form the basis of a framework to support them. When nurses feel empowered to respond to IPV, they can work together with women to optimize their safety.
Relevance to clinical practice. Access to adequate and timely IPV education and training is important in improving nurses’ responses to IPV. Getting this right can lead to enhanced safety planning and better health outcomes for women who experience IPV. Although difficult to measure as an outcome, nurses’ improved responses can contribute to higher rates of referral for help and a reduction in IPV rates.
Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Clinical Nursing
Early online date15 Jun 2016
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 15 Jun 2016


  • Abuse
  • Awareness
  • Education
  • Empowerment
  • Intimate Partner Violence
  • Nursing
  • Recognition
  • Public Health

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Nursing(all)


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