Purpose: Intimate partner violence (IPV) is a major public health problem with significant impact on the workplace. Employee assistance programs (EAPs) are a confidential benefit to assist employees and their families with a variety of problems that may negatively affect their job performance. The purpose of this systematic review is to study the extant literature to identify articles that have explored the role of EAPs in addressing IPV. Methods: We searched Medline, PsychINFO, and Cumulative Index of Nursing and Allied Health Literature (CINAHL) for English-language papers that have explored how EAPs can address IPV. Articles published through 2008 were included. Results: Our review yUrban Female Family Medicineielded nine articles, mostly from EAP-centered journals. Nearly all of the studies were published before the year 2000 and primarily describe the need for EAPs to be more engaged in preventing violence against women. Most of the studies were commentaries, often using case reports to support recommendations on how EAPs could address IPV. Results from the two intervention studies revealed close connections between EAP clients being treated for alcoholism and IPV perpetration and the effectiveness of a standardized tool to identify EAP clients experiencing IPV. Conclusions: Research in this area is in its infancy, and more studies are needed to inform the formulation of evidence-based policies and programs that guide the role of EAPs in addressing IPV. The lack of research on how EAPs address IPV is alarming, as many employers state that they often refer employees affected by IPV to the EAP for assistance.
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