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Domestic Violence

Medically reviewed by Last updated on May 1, 2023.

Domestic violence, or intimate partner violence, is when a person knowingly harms his or her partner. This person tries to control or overpower the relationship by using intimidation, threats, or physical force. Most victims of domestic violence are women, but men may also be victims. There may be a pattern of an ongoing or on and off abuse. The abuser may beg for forgiveness, promise to change, or try to make up for the wrongdoing. The abuser may also act as if the violence never happened.


Informed consent

is a legal document that explains the tests, treatments, or procedures that you may need. Informed consent means you understand what will be done and can make decisions about what you want. You give your permission when you sign the consent form. You can have someone sign this form for you if you are not able to sign it. You have the right to understand your medical care in words you know. Before you sign the consent form, understand the risks and benefits of what will be done. Make sure all your questions are answered.


You may need to rest in bed and get plenty of sleep. If you have trouble breathing or chest pain, call your healthcare provider right away.


  • Antibiotics help prevent or fight a bacterial infection.
  • Pain medicine may be given.
  • Anti-anxiety medicines help you stay calm and relaxed.
  • A tetanus shot may be given if you have an open wound. You should have a tetanus shot if you have not had one in the past 5 to 10 years.


  • Blood and urine tests may be done to check for health problems, such as an infection.
  • A culture and smear exam is used to take a sample of discharge from your genitals. The sample is sent to a lab for tests.
  • A pelvic exam is used in women to check for any injuries the abuse.
  • X-rays or a CT scan may be used to see if any bones have been broken or are displaced. X-rays of your chest and abdomen may also be taken. Contrast liquid may be used to help any injuries show up better in the pictures. Tell the healthcare provider if you have ever had an allergic reaction to contrast liquid.
  • Telemetry is continuous monitoring of your heart rhythm. Sticky pads placed on your skin connect to an EKG machine that records your heart rhythm.
  • A neurologic exam is also called neuro signs, neuro checks, or neuro status. A neurologic exam can show healthcare providers how well your brain works after an injury or illness. A provider will check how your pupils react to light. He or she may check your memory and how easily you wake up. Your hand grasp and balance may also be tested.


  • Counseling may be recommended. Domestic violence may cause you to feel scared, depressed, or anxious. A counselor can help you talk about how you are feeling.
  • Surgery may be needed to return bones to their normal position if you have a broken bone. Surgery may also be needed to correct a deformity or treat other injuries.


When you report domestic violence, you may feel sad, blame yourself, or be afraid for your children and more violence. It may be difficult to be away from your family or friends, or to go to counseling. If domestic violence is not stopped, you may develop serious health and mental problems. Examples include headache, body pain, sexually transmitted infection (STI), and diarrhea. Domestic violence may lead to severe injuries or become life-threatening. You and your children may feel severe trauma, distress, anxiety, or depression.


You have the right to help plan your care. Learn about your health condition and how it may be treated. Discuss treatment options with your healthcare providers to decide what care you want to receive. You always have the right to refuse treatment.

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The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.

Further information

Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.