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Addressing intimate partner violence during the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond: how radiologists can make a difference

Simon Matoori;  Bharti KhuranaMarta Chadwick BalcomJohannes M FroehlichSonja JanssenRosemarie ForstnerAnn D KingDow-Mu KohAndreas Gutzeit


Faced with the COVID-19 pandemic, many countries both in Europe and across the world implemented strict stay-at-home orders. These measures helped to slow the spread of the coronavirus but also led to increased mental and physical health issues for the domestically confined population, including an increase in the occurrence of intimate partner violence (IPV) in many countries. IPV is defined as behavior that inflicts physical, psychological, or sexual harm within an intimate relationship. We believe that as radiologists, we can make a difference by being cognizant of this condition, raising an alert when appropriate and treating suspected victims with care and empathy. The aim of this Special Report is to raise awareness of IPV among radiologists and to suggest strategies by which to identify and support IPV victims. KEY POINTS: • The COVID-19 pandemic led to a marked increase in the number of intimate partner violence (IPV) cases, potentially leading to increased emergency department visits and radiological examinations. • Most IPV-related fractures affect the face, fingers, and upper trunk, and may easily be misinterpreted as routine trauma. • Radiologists should carefully review the medical history of suspicious cases, discuss the suspicion with the referring physician, and proactively engage in a private conversation with the patient, pointing to actionable resources for IPV victims.

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