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H H S Department of Health and Human Services
Health Resources and Services Administration
Maternal and Child Health

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Partner Violence & Depression
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Intimate Partner Violence and Perinatal Depression

A feeling of optimal mental and emotional health is critical to a mother’s well-being, parenting abilities, and interpersonal relationships. A life free of violence, including intimate partner violence (IPV), is also directly related to the mental health of each mother and child. When experienced in tandem, IPV and perinatal depression (PD) severely affect pregnant and parenting women and their families, sometimes with serious consequences.

Although public awareness regarding the adverse maternal and child health outcomes associated with the intersection of maternal depression and intimate partner violence has increased, many pregnant and postpartum women experiencing both IPV and PD remain unidentified by health care providers (and others within the health and social support system) and consequently fail to receive timely and necessary interventions.

A Comprehensive Approach for Community-Based Programs to Address Intimate Partner Violence and Perinatal Depression highlights innovative state and community-based strategies and provides a resource that assists community-based organizations with addressing the intersection of intimate partner violence and perinatal depression.

The toolkit will help you

  • Understand why you should address intimate partner violence and perinatal depression
  • Assess your readiness
  • Build and sustain partnerships
  • Create a successful intimate partner violence/perinatal depression awareness campaign
  • Ensure your efforts are culturally and linguistically appropriate for your community
  • Become familiar with policies that address intimate partner violence and perinatal depression
  • Identify standards of care guidelines and recommendations
  • Evaluate your efforts
Did You Know?

The majority of women do not mind being asked about intimate partner violence or perinatal depression.

Yet, the majority of women are not asked about either.

Pregnant women experience physical abuse at estimated rates of 2.1 to 3.3 percent. *

Depression affects 14 to 25 percent of pregnant women and up to 20 percent of postpartum women. 

There is no difference between populations that experience intimate partner violence and perinatal depression in tandem and those that experience them individually.

How to Raise Awareness

Write articles: why the intersection of intimate partner violence and perinatal depression is important, its effects on children and available resources.

Organize events, co-sponsored with other community groups.

Set up an informational booth at local health fairs.

Participate in other issue-awareness programs, campaigns and panels.

Utilize newspapers, magazines, posters and radio messaging.

Incorporate intimate partner violence and perinatal depression information into your website and social media.