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Tackling Domestic Violence: The Role of Health Professionals, 2nd Edition

NCJ Number
Ann Taket
Date Published
15 pages
Written for a range of health professionals in the United Kingdom, this document raises awareness of the scale of the health problem posed by domestic violence and to alert health professionals to their role in addressing it.
The report explains how health professionals can help in countering domestic violence by asking women patients directly about whether they have experienced domestic abuse; by enabling women to access specialized services if they have experienced domestic abuse; and by supporting them in the process of changing their abusive situation. In order to perform these tasks, health professionals must be appropriately trained. Training should be provided in both pre-practice curricula and in on-the-job training. Basic awareness training is also useful for administrative staff who interact with patients. Ideally, a training team should be composed of members who have detailed knowledge of specialized domestic-violence services as well as members with detailed knowledge of health service settings. Features of effective training are outlined. This report includes information and guidance on health care inquiries about domestic violence. It notes that the majority of women, including both those who have and have not experienced domestic abuse, are not offended by being asked about domestic abuse by a health care professional. Repeated inquiry at a number of consultations has been found to increase the likelihood of disclosure. Also, many women will not disclose abuse to a health care professional without being directly asked. Asking all women patients about abuse, rather than selective inquiry, is recommended. A table is included that describes some of the ways in which routine inquiry about domestic abuse in a health care setting has been conducted. Issues in addressing domestic abuse with women patients from Black and other minority ethnic communities are also discussed. A list of 33 resources for information and assistance