Exploring Intimate Partner Violence and Sexual Health Needs in the Southwestern United States: Perspectives from Health and Human Services Workers

Publication Date


Document Type



Health & Social Work, Volume 41, Issue 1, 1 February 2016, Pages e29–e37, https://doi.org/10.1093/hsw/hlv080


This study explored intimate partner violence (IPV) and sexual and reproductive health (SRH) in the southwestern United States, focused on health and human services professionals (HHSPs) and community health workers (CHWs) in El Paso, Texas. Understanding providers’ perspectives about IPV and SRH is an integral component of clinical and service care. Two focus groups were conducted with HHSPs and CHWs directly involved in health and human services delivery (N = 24). Participants discussed risks, protective factors, challenges, interventions, and programs to address IPV and SRH. Lack of specialized professional training and educational programs about IPV and SRH were identified as the principal barriers to addressing the needs of IPV victims/survivors and perpetrators. The findings suggested that interventions should be culturally and linguistically appropriate and focused on a broad range of IPV and SRH issues and professional skills building. The information gathered from the focus groups informed the adaptation of two modules to improve IPV and sexual health. Subsequently, CHWs received training from the newly adapted program. This promising program is designed to meet the SRH needs of women, men, and survivors/victims of IPV and builds on the strong roles of health professionals, CHWs, and social workers.