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2015 HSR&D/QUERI National Conference Abstract

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3117 — Prevalence and Risk for Past-Year Intimate Partner Violence among Women Veterans

Pavao J, National Center for PTSD, VA Palo Alto Health Care System; Rodriguez A, National Center for PTSD, VA Palo Alto Health Care System; Wong A, National Center for PTSD and Center for Innovation to Implementation, VA Palo Alto Health Care System; Kimerling R, National Center for PTSD and Center for Innovation to Implementation, VA Palo Alto Health Care System;

Objectives:
The primary goal of the study was to determine the prevalence of past-year IPV among women Veteran VA primary care users. We identified demographic and military risk factors and indicators of health care access.

Methods:
A telephone survey with a nationally representative sample of women Veteran VA primary care users (n = 6,287, 84% participation rate) was linked to VA administrative data. Past year IPV was assessed using the HARK screen which includes the following domains: emotional abuse, fear, sexual assault, and physical violence. Logistic Regressions were used to model age-adjusted odds of past year IPV for each demographic, military and health care characteristic. Survey weights were applied to adjust for complex sampling and non-response.

Results:
18.5% of women Veterans reported past-year IPV. Demographic risk factors included younger age, low income, receipt of public assistance, past-year homelessness, unemployment, lesbian or bisexual orientation, and being a parent/guardian. Military risk factors included Vietnam to post-Vietnam service era and less than 10 years of military service. Women who reported experiencing Military Sexual Trauma (MST) had over twice the odds of experiencing past year IPV, but exposure to combat was not associated with IPV risk. Over 75% of IPV-exposed women identified a VA provider as their usual source of care. They were also less likely to have additional health insurance and less likely to have not used VA care in the past year.

Implications:
Many of the demographic risk factors for IPV among Veterans are similar to those observed among civilian women, except for race and ethnicity which were not associated with IPV. Few Veteran specific risks for IPV were identified, with the exception of length of military service, Vietnam to post-Vietnam era and history of MST. The large majority of women Veterans who experienced IPV identified a VA provider as their usual source of care, making VA primary care an excellent opportunity for screening for IPV.

Impacts:
Detection of IPV in VA is especially important as the majority of IPV-exposed women in the system rely on VA as their usual source of care and for many it is their sole source of care.