American College Of Surgeons - Inspiring Quality: Highest Standards, Better Outcomes

ACS FSC Intimate Partner Violence Scenario

Nearly one in four women and one in seven men report being a victim of intimate partner violence in their lifetime.1

Intimate partner violence (IPV), also referred to as domestic violence, is a major public health problem. IPV is defined as behavior designed to exert undue control over another person using physical, sexual, verbal, or emotional abuse within the context of an intimate relationship with a current or former partner or spouse. Physicians often may be on the front lines in assisting IPV victims, and therefore, should be empowered to initiate conversations, provide appropriate resources, and pursue their suspicions of IPV.

In January 2018, the American College of Surgeons (ACS) created an IPV Task Force to

  • Raise awareness of the incidence of IPV in the surgical community
  • Educate surgeons to recognize the signs and consequences of IPV in themselves and their colleagues
  • Provide resources for survivors, including prevention and escape strategies
  • Create resources and curricula in partnership with other national professional and educational organizations to teach surgeons how to recognize IPV in their patients, colleagues, and trainees.

To this end, leadership of the ACS Fundamentals of Surgery Curriculum collaborated with the IPV Task Force to create a case scenario to address this topic. Through this online simulation, residents and practicing surgeons are taught to recognize possible incidents of IPV and employ recommended strategies in caring for suspected victims.

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View the scenario

Authors: Barbara L. Bass, MD, FACS; James C. Hebert, MD, FACS; Patricia J. Numann, MD, FACS; Patricia L. Turner, MD, FACS

Reviewers: Christine M. Finck, MD, FACS; Ishna Sharma, MD


1. Niolan PH, Kearns M, Dills J, Rambo K, Armstead TL, Gilbert L. Preventing Intimate Partner Violence Across the Lifespan: A Technical Package of Programs, Policies, and Practices. Atlanta, GA: Division of Violence Prevention, National Center for Injury Prevention and Control, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; 2017.