Intimate Partner Violence

Defined as physical, sexual or psychological harm at the hands of a current or former partner or spouse, intimate partner violence can include repeated injuries and battering, threats of violence, emotional/financial abuse and intimidation, and growing social isolation. It affects both heterosexual and same-sex couples.

The IPV Exam

IPV exams are available to individuals 12 years or older who have been assaulted by an intimate partner within the last 30 days in the District of Columbia.

The exam is provided at no cost and without proof of insurance.

No police report or proof of citizenship is required.

A forensic nurse will:

  • Complete a head-to-toe medical exam, document injuries, and provide referrals
  • Document current and past abuse that could be beneficial in criminal or civil legal proceedings
  • Conduct a medical history
  • Carefully assess for injuries, such as strangulation, using forensic photography and Alternative Light Source (ALS) that identifies barely visible or non-visible injuries

Exams typically take between 1-2 hours but may take longer depending on the injuries present.

The nurse will explain our mandatory reporting requirements. We are not required to report IPV in the District of Columbia unless:

  • Injuries resulted from criminal activities
  • Injuries were inflicted by a firearm
  • The victim is not legally competent or is disabled physically or cognitively
  • The abuser is a caregiver
  • Child was harmed or placed in immediate danger during the assault

DCFNE partners with DC SAFE (Survivors and Advocates for Empowerment) to provide:

  • Safety planning
  • Information on both the criminal and legal processes
  • Assistance in identifying safe housing/shelter
  • Support in obtaining a Temporary Protection Order (TPO)
  • Connect you with other services, including Crime Victim’s Compensation

If you are concerned for your safety, we will alert the onsite security personnel before the exam and conceal your name in the computer system. No visitors are allowed during the exam itself.

If you are considering pressing charges, you may bring items from the crime scene that could potentially be used as evidence. You may bring these items in a paper bag. Evidence will be held for 90 days for unreported crimes and until trial for reported crimes.

To obtain an IPV exam, go to:

MedStar Washington Hospital Center
Emergency Department
110 Irving St NW
Washington, DC 20010

If coming by Metro, exit the Brookline/CUA stop on the RED line. Exit the station to the right and take the H2 (Van Ness) or H4 (Tenley Town) bus to MedStar Washington Hospital Center. Buses leave every 10 minutes.

If you are traveling by car, visit Google Maps’ Directions.

In an emergency, always call 9-1-1.

If you have any questions, need assistance, or would like to speak with someone, please call the DC Victim Hotline at 1-844-4HELPDC or read our Frequently Asked Questions.