Expanding the Use of Abuse Assessment Screens to Identify Victims of Domestic Violence

Domestic violence is a pervasive problem that affects 25% of women in the United States. Pregnancy further increases a woman’s risk for being abused, making her vulnerable to severe physical injuries such as blunt trauma to the abdomen, hemorrhaging, preterm labor, miscarriage, and even maternal death. Routine screening for conditions unrelated to domestic violence such as preeclampsia and gestational diabetes occurs during pregnancy. Although existing data suggests that domestic violence is more prevalent than these conditions among pregnant women, the vast majority of hospitals still do not screen for domestic violence. Furthermore, domestic violence is one of the most underreported crimes, presumably due to a lack of confidence in the justice system. Consequently, a hospital set-ting in which a patient is guaranteed confidentiality and privacy with her physician may prove to be a more conducive forum for identifying victims of domestic violence…
Read full article originally published in Columbia Roosevelt Review

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