Role of Dental Professionals in Intimate Partner Violence5

A majority of IPV cases include injuries and trauma to the neck and head. Dental professionals are in a unique position to encounter and examine such injuries.

Dental professionals are the least likely of all clinicians to suspect and intervene in IPV cases. Dental professionals report a variety of barriers to intervention including:

  • limited knowledge and training about IPV issues,
  • lack of practical experience on how to intervene,
  • misconceptions about the nature of intervention,
  • fear of being sued (which when done with good intentions and “reason to believe” is not an issue),
  • lack of information on resources for reporting,
  • presence of others in the examination room (including the patient’s partner or children),
  • concerns about offending the patient, and
  • embarrassment about bringing up the topic.