5. Supportive, Non-Judgmental, Culturally Competent Responses

IPV occurs in relationships regardless of race, ethnicity, religious beliefs, economic status, sexual orientation, education levels, and geographic location.

It is important to be comfortable asking patients questions about IPV without judgment or bias and with regard to cultural and language issues. Cultural stereotypes can create barriers to trusting, supportive relationships between healthcare providers and patients, so take the time to understand your patient’s personal background and how that impacts her or his own beliefs about IPV and seeking assistance. If the patient’s first language is not English and you are not fluent in that language, do not rely on family members or friends to translate IPV assessment questions. Work with an interpreter, as needed.

Examples of supportive, non-judgmental statements when IPV has been disclosed include:

  • You don’t deserve this. It’s not your fault.
  • I’m glad you trusted me with this information. I know it can be very difficult to talk about abuse.
  • Intimate partner violence is common happens in all kinds of relationships.
  • I’m sorry this is happening to you. You are not alone. There is help available.
  • I’m concerned for your safety (and the safety of your children).

Click here for more information about cultural competency and IPV, see FWV’s “Culture Handbook”.