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Healthcare provider experiences interacting with survivors of intimate partner violence: a qualitative study to inform survivor-centered approaches. BMC Womens Health 2023 Nov 08;23(1):584



Pubmed ID


Pubmed Central ID




Scopus ID

2-s2.0-85176043761 (requires institutional sign-in at Scopus site)


BACKGROUND: Intimate partner violence (IPV) remains a pervasive form of gender-based violence (GBV) that is largely undisclosed, especially among women seeking healthcare services in Uganda. Prioritizing survivor needs may improve IPV disclosure. This study explores healthcare worker experiences from provider-patient interactions with survivors seeking antenatal care services (ANC) in Uganda.

METHODS: In-depth interviews were conducted among twenty-eight experienced healthcare providers in a rural and an urban-based ANC clinic in Eastern and Central Uganda. Providers were asked what they viewed as the needs and fears of women identified as having experienced any form of IPV. Iterative, inductive/deductive thematic analysis was conducted to discover themes regarding perceived needs, fears, and normalizing violence experienced by IPV survivors.

RESULTS: According to healthcare providers, IPV survivors are unaware of available support services, and have need for support services. Providers reported that some survivors were afraid of the consequences of IPV disclosure namely, community stigma, worries about personal and their children's safety, retaliatory abuse, fear of losing their marriage, and partners' financial support. Women survivors also blamed themselves for IPV. Contextual factors underlying survivor concerns included the socio-economic environment that 'normalizes' violence, namely, some cultural norms condoning violence, and survivors' unawareness of their human rights due to self-blame and shame for abuse.

CONCLUSIONS: We underscore a need to empower IPV survivors by prioritizing their needs. Results highlight opportunities to create a responsive healthcare environment that fosters IPV disclosure while addressing survivors' immediate medical and psychosocial needs, and safety concerns. Our findings will inform GBV prevention and response strategies that integrate survivor-centered approaches in Uganda.

Author List

Anguzu R, Cassidy LD, Nakimuli AO, Kansiime J, Babikako HM, Beyer KMM, Walker RJ, Wandira C, Kizito F, Dickson-Gomez J


Ronald Anguzu MD, PhD Assistant Professor in the Institute for Health and Equity department at Medical College of Wisconsin
Kirsten M. Beyer PhD, MPH Professor in the Institute for Health and Equity department at Medical College of Wisconsin
Julia Dickson-Gomez PhD Professor in the Institute for Health and Equity department at Medical College of Wisconsin
Rebekah Walker PhD Associate Professor in the Medicine department at Medical College of Wisconsin

MESH terms used to index this publication - Major topics in bold

Ambulatory Care Facilities
Health Personnel
Intimate Partner Violence
Prenatal Care
Qualitative Research