Background Violence by intimate partners (IPV) can be prevented and its impact reduced. This calls for to deal with violence from a public health perspective, according the ecological model, associated to a multidisciplinary and multisectoral networking approach. In Coimbra various sectors are working together from 2000, in tackling the problem of IPV. Health sector is an active and valuable ally in the global response to violence and brings a variety of advantages and assets to this work, from primary to terciary prevention, including programs for victims and perpetrators.
Description of the problem IPV is a serious problem that occurs in all countries, among heterosexual or same-sex couples. The consequences are profound, extending beyond the health and happiness of individuals to affect the well-being of entire communities.
Results Our strategies are addressed to prevention (al all levels). We deal with violence taking steps to understand the range of factors that put people at risk for violence and protect them from experiencing or perpetrating violence. Our fundamental goal is to stop IPV before it begins. Networks “Violence´s Group: Information, Research, Intervention” (2002), “School Against Violence” (2007), along with the training of 480 professionals (health, other sectors) in our region (2009–2012), in the area of prevention of IPV, are examples of our networking strategy. The Family Violence Unit, UVF (2004) - CHUC, integrates both networks; of the 1400 cases (2/3 women, 1/3 men) at UVF, we did not record any murder to date. Our strategy is recognised at regional and national levels.
Conclusions We believe that prevent efforts associated to investigation and a networking strategy (from micro to macrosystem, throughout the life cycle), at individual, family, community, and political levels, are one of the keys to prevent IPV.
- Intimate partner violence
- public health perspective