Skip directly to search Skip directly to A to Z list Skip directly to navigation Skip directly to page options Skip directly to site content

Awarded Research Grant to Prevent Violence and Violence-Related Injury

Safety and Effectiveness of Computer Screening for IPV

FOA Number: CE03-024 - Grants for Violence-Related Injury Prevention Research
Project Period: 09/01/03–08/31/06
Application/Grant Number: 1-R49-CE423113-01
Principal Investigator: Debra E. Houry, MD, MPH
Emory University
1518 Clifton Road, NE
Suite 230
Atlanta, GA 30322
Phone: 404-727-9978
Fax: 404-727-8744


The study will address the lack of knowledge about the effectiveness of routine screening and intervention for IPV in the health care setting and the possible harm derived from such actions. The overall goal is to assess the potential benefit or harm resulting from routine computer-based screening for emotional, physical, and sexual abuse in both women and men in an acute care setting. The researchers will test computer screening for IPV to examine a screening method that will minimize provider time spent on information gathering and maximize provider time for responding to the patient's needs. This study, a randomized clinical trial with longitudinal follow-up, has four specific aims:

  1. To assess the safety of screening, identifying, and referring IPV victims as part of an overall computer-based health risk assessment in an ED setting;
  2. To assess the effect of computer screening with automatic advocate notification, compared with physician notification alone, on rates of patient contact with community-based IPV resources;
  3. To assess the effect of screening in a health care setting on incidents of violence and on IPV victim-defined desirable outcomes;
  4. To assess the safety of screening and identifying IPV perpetrators as part of an overall computer-based health risk assessment in an ED setting.

The researchers hypothesize that a) the computer screening will not result in violence related to the screening; b) automatic advocate notification in addition to physician notification in IPV-positive cases will result in higher IPV resource contacts, improved patient knowledge of resources, and greater likelihood of having a safety plan; c) advocate counseling in addition to the physician contact will lead to small improvements in victim-desired outcomes and victim mental health and quality of life; d) the computer screening will not result in adverse incidents during the ED visit, nor increase the rates of 911 calls from the address of patients disclosing victimization and/or perpetration; and e) self-identified perpetrators will report predominantly positive reactions on an exit questionnaire following a simple health care intervention.

Screening positive for either victimization or perpetration on the computer-based survey will branch into questions assessing potential danger as part of the computer screening. Investigators will track all potential danger and harm to the patient and/or their cohabiting partner in three time periods (1-week, 3-month, and 6-month prearranged follow-up visits).