n South African Medical Journal - Intimate partner violence : how should health systems respond? : editorial

Volume 104, Issue 8
  • ISSN : 0256-9574
  • E-ISSN: 2078-5135



Intimate partner violence (IPV) is a common and devastating feature of partnerships worldwide, and South Africa (SA) is no exception. In 2013, the publication of World Health Organization (WHO) clinical and policy guidelines for responding to IPV and sexual violence supported the growing acknowledgement that IPV should be viewed as an issue directly related to health, and outlined an appropriate response from policy makers and healthcare providers. IPV is important to health systems because of the wide-ranging and serious health effects experienced by exposed women, as well as the unique opportunity afforded to healthcare providers to enquire about violence. IPV and gender inequality are also features of the complex network of causes driving the HIV epidemic in sub-Saharan Africa. In SA, where there is an extremely high burden of interpersonal violence, gender-based violence and HIV, IPV should be treated as a priority health concern.

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