Screening women for domestic violence 'cannot be justified' on current evidence

August 08, 2002

The Department of Health now recommends that health professionals should consider "routine enquiry" of women patients about whether they have experienced domestic violence. However, a study in this week's BMJ concludes that implementation of screening programmes in healthcare settings is not justified by current evidence.

Researchers at Queen Mary's School of Medicine reviewed 20 studies to assess the evidence for the acceptability and effectiveness of screening women for domestic violence in healthcare settings.

They found that screening by health professionals increases the identification of domestic violence, and many women do not object to being asked. However, most health professionals were not in favour of screening. Other studies have shown that lack of education in or experience of screening, fear of offending or endangering patients, and lack of effective interventions are given as reasons for not routinely asking women about domestic violence. Little evidence also exists to show whether screening and intervention can lead to improved outcomes for women identified as abused. It would therefore be premature to introduce a screening programme for domestic violence in healthcare settings, say the authors.

However, these conclusions should not be interpreted as a denial of domestic violence as an important issue for healthcare providers, stress the authors. Doctors and nurses should not abandon the goal of identifying and supporting women experiencing domestic violence.

Health professionals need education and training to remain aware of the problem if they are to recognise women who experience domestic violence, while health services, local authorities, and the police need to coordinate their responses to domestic violence. Further research is also essential to develop and evaluate interagency policies.

Research within the NHS on the effectiveness of screening and on care for women experiencing abuse is a priority, they conclude.
-end-


BMJ

Related Domestic Violence Articles from Brightsurf:

As domestic violence spikes, many victims and their children have nowhere to live
COVID-19 has left many victims of domestic violence facing difficulties feeding their children and accessing services for safe housing, transportation and childcare once they leave shelters, according to a Rutgers study published in the journal Violence Against Women.

New study shows increase in domestic violence injuries during COVID-19
There was a higher incidence and severity of physical intimate partner violence (IPV) among patients seen at a large, academic medical center in the US during the COVID-19 pandemic compared with the prior three years, according to a new study.

Domestic violence increased in the great recession
Researchers found that physical abuse in adults increased substantially, with Black and Native American people being disproportionately affected.

Mothering in domestic violence: Protecting children behind closed doors
As emerging data shows an alarming rise of domestic violence during the pandemic, researchers at the University of South Australia are urging practitioners to look beyond clinical observations and focus on the strengths that mothers exercise to protect their children from domestic abuse.

Training family doctors to better support domestic violence survivors
Women who are experiencing domestic violence feel better supported, more confident and less depressed when they are counselled by trained family doctors, according to new research.

Domestic violence reduces likelihood of mothers breastfeeding in developing countries
Mothers who have suffered from domestic violence are substantially less likely to follow recommended breastfeeding practices in low to middle-income countries, a new study shows.

Treatment for sexual and domestic violence offenders does work
A first-of-its-kind meta-study has found that specialised psychological programmes for sexual and domestic violence offenders have led to major reductions in reoffending but best results are achieved with consistent input from a qualified psychologist.

Study: Brain injury common in domestic violence
Domestic violence survivors commonly suffer repeated blows to the head and strangulation, trauma that has lasting effects that should be widely recognized by advocates, health care providers, law enforcement and others who are in a position to help, according to the authors of a new study.

Dentists can be the first line of defense against domestic violence
New findings indicate that oral biomarkers may help health providers identify victims of domestic violence.

Radiologists can help identify victims of domestic violence
Radiologists may play a crucial role in identifying signs of intimate partner violence, a type of domestic violence, according to a new study.

Read More: Domestic Violence News and Domestic Violence Current Events
Brightsurf.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.