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for them, and are they safe? Above all and most of all… are they safe? each year in the United States approximately 1.5 million women and more than 800,000 men are raped or physically assaulted by an intimate partner. IPV results in nearly 2 million injuries and 1,300 deaths nationwide every yearMany victims, survivors, and perpetrators of mild, moderate, and severe IPV seek couples and family therapy, though they often do not voluntarily disclose the violence and may not necessar-ily perceive the violence as relevant or safe to discuss.only 12% of 262 families initially reported IPV as the presenting problem even though IPV was occurring in at least 40% of the familiesTodahl, J. L., Linville, D., Chou, L., & Maher-Cosenza, P. (2008). A QUALITATIVE STUDY OF INTIMATE PARTNER VIOLENCE UNIVERSAL SCREENING BY FAMILY THERAPY INTERNS: IMPLICATIONS FOR PRACTICE, RESEARCH, TRAINING, AND SUPERVI-SION. Journal of Marital and Family Therapy, 34(1), 28-43. doi:What challenges do counselors face when assessing for spousal or domestic partner abuse? What are some strategies for overcoming these challenges?
When assessing for IPV, counselors face challenges such as not getting accurate information, inaccu-rately predicting lethality (Dudley, McCkloskey, & Kustron, 2008), the inability to get clients to disclose violence (Todahl, Linville, Chou, & Maher-Cosenza, 2008), and even gaps in research for IPV (WHO, 2013). Other challenges counselors face is feeling overwhelmed, guilty, or that they didn’t do enough or ask the right questions. It is important that counselors practice self-care and take time for them-selves, because dealing with victims of abuse can be hard on anyone’s well-being.Research has shown that a decade ago, at least 40% of therapists failed at perceiving IPV (Dudley, Mc-Ckloskey, & Kustron, 2008). Now there are more assessments of lethality that are available, but it still places a huge responsibility on counselors that can be overwhelming. According to the National Statis-tics Domestic Violence Fact Sheet, over 72 percent of all murder/suicides involve an intimate partner and often the victim has not reported any abuse to anyone(Dudley, McCkloskey, & Kustron, 2008). Research is showing the possibility of providing a lethality assessment before violence is reported, that maybe an assessment can be done in every counseling session to help prevent such incidents of IPV(Ghandour, Campbell, & Lloyd, 2008). Journal of Women's Health describe a screening that would be done univer-sally to adolescents and women who enter a healthcare or behavioral health setting (Ghandour, Camp-bell, & Lloyd, 2008). Thanks to more research, assessments and lethality questionnaires, counselors have become better at detecting and implementing safety plans and harm reduction strategies (Dudley, McCkloskey, & Kustron, 2008).