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  4. Addressing Intimate Partner Violence and Human Trafficking in Communities

Addressing Intimate Partner Violence and Human Trafficking in Communities

Intimate partner violence (IPV) is prevalent in communities across the country. HRSA helps health care settings prevent and respond to IPV and human trafficking (HT).

How does the Office of Women's Health (OWH) address IPV and HT?

OWH helps health care settings by creating resources, sharing promising practices, and supporting research.

Our efforts include:

Preventing and Responding to IPV: An Implementation Framework for HRSA-Supported Settings of Care

OWH wrote the Framework (PDF - 681 KB) for HRSA-supported settings of care. These steps align with our 2023-2025 Strategy to Address IPV.

The Framework has five building blocks to:

  1. Train and support the health care workforce
  2. Engage with partners and their communities
  3. Deliver care that is responsive to trauma and diverse cultures
  4. Coordinate and carry out steps to prevent and respond to IPV
  5. Use data to drive decision-making

Health care settings can pick the building blocks that work with their needs. The tasks in each building block range from basic to advanced. Activities in each task link to other evidence-informed resources.

Survivor Health Connection Project (SHCP)

The SHCP team included:

Training and technical assistance

The SHCP team created a training and technical assistance model to:

  • Teach health center staff about IPV support options
  • Enhance Hotline advocates' ability to connect contacts with health care
  • Strengthen referrals to health care and advocacy services

In two years, we trained 378 health care providers and 109 Hotline advocates.

Key teaching points:

  • The scope and impact of IPV on marginalized communities
  • The essential elements of healthy relationships
  • The warning signs of abuse, types of abuse, and common abuse tactics
  • The impacts of abuse on survivors' health
  • Responding to patients who disclose abuse in a trauma-informed, survivor-centered way
  • How to make referrals to local and national support resources

NDVH shared this training live on June 27, 2022. Watch Supporting Patients Experiencing IPV.


In 2022, the SHCP team surveyed anonymous users of the NDVH. They focused on persons impacted by relationship abuse. They asked questions about their health care needs and experiences.

Among respondents:

  • 46.5% said their partner controlled and/or restricted their access to health care.
  • 53% did not know where to find low-cost health care.
  • 16% did not feel safe during telehealth or virtual health care appointments.
  • Finances make it difficult to access health care. Not having enough or any insurance was a barrier, as well.

Read the survey reports

HRSA 2022 Survey Report (PDF - 76 KB)
HRSA 2021 Survey Report (PDF - 57 KB)

Health Partners on IPV + Exploitation

HRSA BPHC provides free health center training and technical assistance. BPHC does this through their National Training and Technical Assistance Partners (NTTAP).

The Health Partners on IPV + Exploitation NTTAP offers health centers training in:

  • Trauma-informed services
  • Partnerships and policy development
  • Identifying persons impacted by IPV and HT
  • Referring impacted persons to care and treatment

Project Catalyst

From 2017 to 2020, HRSA and ACF worked with Futures Without Violence on Project Catalyst. State and territory teams were trained to lead healthcare and policy approaches to respond to IPV and HT.

Teams included leaders from state and territory health care and domestic violence organizations.

The state and territory teams worked to:

  • Share training materials with health centers and DV programs
  • Help community health centers and DV programs to become partners
  • Advance policy changes across health care systems
  • Train community health centers on approaches to universal education


In five years, Project Catalyst (PDF - 1 MB) partners trained more than 1,400 staff.

After finishing the training series:

  • 100% of respondents launched a policy to see patients alone. This is a key practice to ensure patient privacy and safety.
  • 95% of trained providers were more aware of the impact of IPV and HT on health.
  • 70% of trained health center and DV providers referred patients to each other.
  • 60% of trained providers reported a greater ability to address IPV and HT. They used trauma-informed approaches in their work, as well.

In 2019, this program expanded to become the Health Partners on IPV + Exploitation NTTAP.

Health Partners IPV Toolkit

The Improving Health Outcomes Through Violence Prevention Pilot Project ran from 2014 to 2016. Ten community health centers and ten DV programs took part in the pilot. HRSA and ACF provided funding and support. The pilot offered ways to better serve patients impacted by IPV. They discussed what makes a healthy relationship, as well.

The pilot included an IPV Toolkit with tools to:

  • Help health centers work with diverse stakeholders
  • Train health center staff
  • Adopt best practices
  • Evaluate their progress

In 2017, this pilot grew into Project Catalyst.

Get help

Are you or someone you know experiencing HT or IPV? Callers can get help in English, Spanish, and other languages.

National Human Trafficking Hotline
Free | 24/7 | Confidential
Call: 888-373-7888
Text: 233733 (BEFREE) or use TTY: 711

National Domestic Violence Hotline
Free | 24/7 | Confidential
Call: 800-799-SAFE (7233) or 800-787-3224 (TTY)
Text: "START" to 88788. Hotline Privacy Policy. Message and data rates may apply. Text STOP to opt out.

Note: Providers can call this hotline for treatment guidance, as well.

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