Routine Screening For Domestic Violence

Perhaps the most significant reason for missing the diagnosis of domestic violence is the failure to ask. Asking patients directly whether domestic violence is affecting their lives has the potential of overcoming many of these barriers to diagnosis as well as establishing the expectation that the physician believes that domestic violence is not acceptable. Research shows that patients will respond to direct questioning. 21 It has been reported that approximately 45 percent of battered women will speak to an emergency physician about the violence in their lives if direct inquiry is made, although fewer (24 percent) were willing to disclose if asked during a triage encounter.21

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