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Finding the right words: Provider-patient discussions can help domestic violence victims speak up
Date:12/6/2007

quire the woman to view herself as a victim. Re-framed queries such as Has anyone ever treated you badly or made you do things you dont want to do" or Is there anyone you are afraid of" tended to elicit disclosures, as did asking empathetic follow-up questions when patients mentioned other psychosocial problems.

The investigators pointed out that while better communication strategies were likely to open the door to meaningful conversations about abuse, patients appreciated being asked about the issue even when the provider asked about abuse in an awkward manner or stumbled over their words. Patients were more likely to rate their satisfaction with the visit as very high if there was any mention of the topic of domestic violence, even if they did not disclose abuse.

The research also revealed problems with provider action once disclosures are made. Less than a quarter of women who revealed abuse were referred to legal or counseling services, and providers generally failed to document domestic violence in the medical record -- something that can be helpful if an abused woman ultimately files criminal charges against her partner or seeks protection in civil court. These lapses occurred despite annual domestic violence education programs in each department studied and each providers awareness that they were being taped.


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Contact: Holly Auer
holly.auer@uphs.upenn.edu
215-349-5659
University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine
Source:Eurekalert

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