Lack of Training Hampers Domestic Abuse Screening
Written by Editor   
Wednesday, June 25, 2014 07:47 AM

Since 2013, the United States Preventive Services Task Force has recommended that women, ages 14-46, be screened for intimate partner violence at every encounter with a healthcare personnel, even if there are no outward signs of physical abuse. It's estimated that one in four women will be victims of intimate partner violence and one in men will also be victims.

At a family medicine clinic at Oregon Health & Science University in Richmond, 25% of the respondents -- nurse practitioners, physician assistants, doctors, and others -- said they'd never undergone training for domestic violence screening, while 80% said they had not received such training in the last 6 months.  The lack of training is "one of the biggest barriers to getting treatment for [victims of intimate partner violence]."   "There is no standard guide available at this time."

One-quarter of medical clinicians reported that they never received any training in dealing with intimate partner violence, and more than three-fourths said they had not received such training in the previous 6 months, according to a single-center study.

"In Oregon, 45% of all female homicides are related to intimate partner violence."

The main barriers to screening for domestic violence cited by the survey respondents were:

  • Lack of a protocol for managing intimate partner violence at the clinic
  • Difficulty in getting the patient alone for the screening
  • Lack of adequate training for healthcare professionals

The author said she has put together a screening protocol that is now undergoing review by the health department. She is also developing an educational program that could be used for training clinicians to respond to patients who experience intimate partner violence.