WHO South-East Asia Journal of Public Health
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Year : 2015  |  Volume : 4  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 6-11

A review of the Sri Lankan health-sector response to intimate partner violence: looking back, moving forward

1 Daphne Cockwell School of Nursing, Ryerson University, Toronto, Canada
2 Faculty of Medicine, University of Colombo, Sri Lanka

Correspondence Address:
Sepali Guruge
Ryerson University, 350 Victoria Street, Toronto, Ontario
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DOI: 10.4103/2224-3151.206622

PMID: 28607269

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Intimate partner violence (IPV) is a major health concern for women worldwide. Prevalence rates for IPV are high in the World Health Organization South-East Asia Region, but little is known about health-sector responses in this area. Health-care professionals can play an important role in supporting women who are seeking recourse from IPV. A comprehensive search was conducted to identify relevant published and grey literature over the last 35 years that focused on IPV, partner/ spousal violence, wife beating/abuse/battering, domestic violence, and Sri Lanka. Much of the information about current health-sector response to IPV in Sri Lanka was not reported in published and grey literature. Therefore, key personnel from the Ministry of Health, hospitals, universities and nongovernmental organizations were also interviewed to gain additional, accurate and timely information. It was found that the health-sector response to IPV in Sri Lanka is evolving, and consists of two models of service provision: (i) gender based violence desks, which integrate selective services at the provider/facility level; and (ii) Mithuru Piyasa (Friendly Abode) service points, which integrate comprehensive services at the provider/facility level and some at the system level. This paper presents each model’s strengths and limitations in providing comprehensive and integrated health services for women who experience IPV in the Sri Lankan context.

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