Tuesday, 6 October 2009

Should doctors and nurses screen for domestic violence? UK researchers say no

UK researchers, published in the British Medical Journal asked the question about whether health professionals should screen for domestic violence. Screening is compulsory, for example in parts of the US. Their conclusion was that doctors and nurses should not screen.

The researchers reviewed a number of research papers about the topic of whether screening increases the chances of detecting whether women have been subject to domestic violence.

Their conclusions:
  • Screening by health professionals increases the identification of domestic violence, and many women do not object to being asked
  • Up to 2/3's of doctors and half of Emergency Department nurses surveyed do not agree with screening of women in healthcare settings
  • Insufficient evidence exists to show whether screening and intervention can lead to improved outcomes for women identified as abused
  • Implementation of screening programmes in healthcare settings is not justified by current evidence

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