HEALTHCARE

In a victim's words:
"The doctor's office is a good place to go because it's neutral and it's confidential. It's not like telling your husband you're going to the police department."

Healthcare and Domestic Violence

Most people are seen at some point by a health care provider - a nurse, family doctor, chiropractor, physician's assistant, nurse practitioner, obstetrician, or other health care provider. Medical visits can provide a critical opportunity for early detection, education, referrals and even prevention of abuse.

The direct medical and mental health-related costs of rape, physical assault, stalking, and homicide by intimate partners total nearly $4.1 billion each year, according to a report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)

(Costs of Intimate Partner Violence Against Women in the United States, US Centers for Disease Control. Report released April 28, 2003)

Healthcare Services Connect Victims with Help

Screening during medical visits (asking questions of all women clients in order to find those victimized by a partner or family member) is an effective way to raise awareness and connect victims with information and services. More information from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services on effective screening for domestic violence.

Health care providers can break the deadly cycle of domestic violence by screening patients, identifying domestic violence-related injuries and ailments, documenting in the medical record, providing services and referring patients who are being abused by their intimate partners or family members to domestic violence programs and other services. 

Domestic Violence Is A Public Health Problem

Even though many people think of domestic violence as happening in private, domestic violence is a public health problem. 

PCADV Works to Assist Providers

  • PCADV's member programs work in every county to provide domestic violence victims and families with emergency shelter, housing options and other programs to help victims gain stability and independence.
  • PCADV's medical advocate provides technical assistance and training to health care providers helping domestic violence victims and their families. Call 1-800-932-4632.
  • PCADV tracks legislation around health care issues that affect abuse victims and their families. 
  • PCADV provides a Domestic Violence Health Care Provider Training Evaluation Toolkit to help providers improve staff training on the screening, identification, and response to victims of domestic violence.
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