If physicians have "getting her to a shelter" or "having him arrested" as the goal of the patient encounter, they are bound to become frustrated when dealing with cases of domestic violence. Leaving the relationship may not be the immediate goal of the patient, and she may be loathe to have her husband and the father of their children arrested. The safety of the woman and her children should be the first and foremost goal of every patient encounter. It is the woman, however, who must make the ultimate determination of whether it is safe to return home. By providing women with information about battering, risks, and options, the physician will help the woman to decide what is best for her and her family.
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