These guidelines aim to provide advice to health-care providers on the appropriate responses to IPV and sexual violence against women, including clinical interventions and emotional support. They also seek to raise awareness of violence against women among health-care providers and policy-makers, to better understand the need for an appropriate health sector response to violence against women.
The guidelines are based on systematic reviews of the evidence on identification and clinical care for intimate partner violence, clinical care for sexual assault, training for intimate partner violence and sexual assault, as well as policy and programmatic approaches to delivering services. They provide standards that can act as the basis for national guidelines, and for integrating these issues into health-care provider education, as well as help health-care providers be better informed about the care of women experiencing sexual assault and intimate partner violence.
The guidelines are aimed at health-care providers because they are in a unique position to address the health and psychosocial needs of women who have experienced violence. Health professionals can provide assistance by facilitating disclosure, offering support and referral, gathering forensic evidence, particularly in cases of sexual violence, or by providing the appropriate medical services and follow-up care.
The guidelines aim to supply health-care providers with evidence-based guidance on offering an appropriate response, including clinical interventions and emotional support, to women suffering from IPV and sexual violence. They also seek to make health-care providers and policy-makers more aware of violence against women, to encourage an evidence-informed health-sector response, and improve capacity building of health-care providers and other members of multi disciplinary teams. They should also prove useful to those responsible for developing training curricula in medicine, nursing and public health.
They also include a service-delivery and programme-guidance component aimed at those responsible for developing, funding and implementing programmes to address violence against women. The level of resources available, including other support services, will need to be taken into account when implementing the recommendations. WHO will partner with Ministries of Health, NGOs and sister UN agencies to disseminate these guidelines, and support their adaptation and implementation in member countries.