April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month

The Office on Women’s Health at the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services recognizes April as the month to raise awareness of sexual assault, and increase understanding of its effects that go well beyond targeted victims.  While prevalence of the consequences of violence is higher among women than among men, decades-old research on children who are exposed to domestic violence shows life-long impact on chronic conditions for physical and mental health.  The New England Journal of Medicine (NEMJ) notes that intimate partner violence is “more prevalent during a woman’s lifetime than conditions such as diabetes, depression, or breast cancer, yet it often remains unrecognized by health professionals.”  In the same editorial, NEMJ refers to a strategic framework to improve the response of health care systems implemented here at the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA).  The HRSA Strategy to Address Intimate Partner Violence includes a partnership with the Administration for Children and Families to increase coordination between clinical and social response systems.