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Intimate Partner Violence

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW:

Intimate partner violence is also known as domestic violence. The abuser 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.

DISCHARGE INSTRUCTIONS:

Call your local emergency number (911 in the US) if:

  • You fear for your life or the lives of your children.
  • You feel like hurting yourself or someone else.
  • You feel that you cannot cope with the abuse, or your recovery from it.
  • You have trouble breathing, chest pain, or a fast heartbeat.

Seek care immediately if:

  • Your symptoms are getting worse.

Call your doctor if:

  • You have new symptoms.
  • You have questions or concerns about your condition or care.

Medicines:

You may need any of the following:

  • Prescription pain medicine may be given. Ask your healthcare provider how to take this medicine safely. Some prescription pain medicines contain acetaminophen. Do not take other medicines that contain acetaminophen without talking to your healthcare provider. Too much acetaminophen may cause liver damage. Prescription pain medicine may cause constipation. Ask your healthcare provider how to prevent or treat constipation.
  • Antianxiety medicine may help you feel calmer and more relaxed.
  • Take your medicine as directed. Contact your healthcare provider if you think your medicine is not helping or if you have side effects. Tell him or her if you are allergic to any medicine. Keep a list of the medicines, vitamins, and herbs you take. Include the amounts, and when and why you take them. Bring the list or the pill bottles to follow-up visits. Carry your medicine list with you in case of an emergency.

Self-care:

  • Rest when you feel it is needed. Tell your healthcare provider if you have trouble sleeping.
  • Apply ice and heat as directed:
    • Ice helps decrease swelling and pain. Ice may also help prevent tissue damage. Use an ice pack, or put crushed ice in a plastic bag. Cover it with a towel and place it on your injury for 15 to 20 minutes every hour or as directed.
    • After the first 24 to 48 hours, your healthcare provider may have you use heat. Heat helps decrease pain and muscle spasms. Apply heat on the area for 20 to 30 minutes every 2 hours for as many days as directed.
  • Report physical or emotional abuse. It may be hard to report physical abuse, but it is very important. Healthcare providers can help you if you are at risk for or are a victim of intimate partner violence.
  • Go to follow-up visits. Your healthcare provider may talk to you, your family, friends, or the person responsible for intimate partner violence. This may include what may happen if the abuse does not stop.
  • Counseling may be recommended. Intimate partner violence may cause you to feel scared, depressed, or anxious. Your healthcare provider may suggest that you see a counselor to talk about how you are feeling.

Protect yourself:

  • Create a safety plan:
    • Prepare a bag with clothes, money, and important papers in case you need to leave your house quickly.
    • Hide an extra set of house and car keys.
    • Have a secret way to let your family or friends know you need urgent help.
    • Plan where you can go if you need to leave.
    • If you do not have a cell phone, ask your healthcare provider about emergency cell phones for 911 calls only.
    • When you are attacked, avoid rooms with one entrance (such as bathrooms) and stay out of the kitchen.
  • Contact the police. Call the police if your life or a child's life is at risk. The police can remove your abuser. Your abuser can be kept away from you if that is what you choose.
  • Think about spending one or more nights in a shelter. A women's shelter can give you a safe place to stay when you need it.
  • Ask for names and phone numbers. Get a list of phone numbers for people who can help you. People at these phone numbers can answer your questions, and tell you where to go to get help.
  • Ask about a domestic violence advocate. This is a trained healthcare provider who will talk to you about your choices. Contact with this healthcare provider is private. This person may also help you in an emergency to make sure that you are safe from your abuser.

Follow up with your doctor as directed:

Write down your questions so you remember to ask them during your visits.

For support and more information:

  • National Domestic Violence Hotline
    PO Box 90249
    Austin , TX 78709
    Phone: 1- 800 - 799-7233
    Web Address: www.ndvh.org

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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.