Domestic Violence is a public health issue.
According to Dr. Campbell at Johns Hopkins University (2004), 44% of women murdered by an intimate partner visited an emergency room in the preceding two years. The health care setting offers a unique opportunity and responsibility to identify victims of domestic violence through screening and education, documentation, and intervention. Medical practitioners are often the first, and sometimes the only, professionals to whom a victim of abuse turns to for help (Family Violence Prevention Fund, 2003).
According to the American Medical Association, battered patients often present with repeated injuries, medical complaints, and mental health problems, all of which results from living in an abusive situation. Domestic violence results in many adverse health consequences, some of which may include: acute injuries death, increased hospital care utilization, and chronic pain. Maryland Hospital-based Domestic Violence Programs
The Maryland Health Care Coalition Against Domestic Violence was created in 1988 to provide leadership within the health care community in promoting a proactive and effective response to domestic violence through screening, identification, education, intervention and treatment for domestic violence victims. The Coalition provides training and education for health care professionals statewide through quarterly seminars, newsletters, brochures and materials. For a list of brochures available, please click here.
Prepare Your Health Care Facility
- Contact local DV services prior to seeing any victim to learn what service they offer
- Have brochures and other materials available to place in waiting room, bathrooms, and patient exam rooms
- Offer phone to call a local domestic violence program (Get Help Now) and create safety plan
- Schedule a follow-up appointment with your patient
- Educate your office staff (Health Care Training)