The role of GPs in helping women experiencing domestic violence

July 7, 2011

The research will be presented today at the 40th Annual Scientific Meeting of the Society of Academic Primary Care, hosted this year by the University of Bristol's Academic Unit of Primary Health Care.

A recent study among seeking healthcare in UK primary care found six per cent to 23 per cent of women had experienced physical and from a partner or ex-partner in the last year. Women experiencing domestic violence are more likely to be in touch with than any other agency, yet doctors and nurses rarely ask about domestic violence, often failing to identify signs of domestic violence in their patients.

The study by Alice Malpass (Research Fellow) and Professor Gene Feder from the Academic Unit of , University of Bristol, in with the Nia Project, Nextlink and Domestic Violence Training Ltd, aimed to understand women’s experience of disclosing domestic violence in primary care settings and the role of GPs in supporting women. Women who had been referred to a specialist domestic violence agency by a GP were interviewed by a survivor of domestic violence about their experiences.

The study found that women wanted their GPs to ask about domestic violence, one women said "nobody ever asked me. Never. I've got bruises round my neck and so stressed out and never asked 'what’s happening in your life?' or 'why have you got these bruises'? I just want someone to say 'so what’s going on?' and I would just sit there and cry".

Women saw their GP's role to be one of referral and signposting, rather than one of action. Women do not want to be coerced by the GPs to leave the violent or abusive partner before they are ready to do so but do welcome being given access to specialist support.

Dr Malpass said: “In the UK the role of GPs in identifying women who may be experiencing and abuse is currently under debate. Two competing approaches are shaping this debate one is an agency-led understanding of change that prioritises high risk women and measures successful outcomes in terms of ‘leaving the perpetrator’. The other approach is more women-centred, focusing on attitudinal and emotional changes as important precursors to action. It is the latter that the women in the study welcomed, seeing their GP's role as being one of referral to specialised advocacy services rather than being a source of direct-action.”

The 40th Annual Scientific Meeting of the Society for Academic is hosted by the Academic Unit of Primary Health Care, University of Bristol on 6-8 July 2011.

Explore further: Health care providers need training to recognize signs of domestic violence, says nursing expert

Related Stories

Health care providers need training to recognize signs of domestic violence, says nursing expert

June 7, 2011
Despite billions of dollars spent on health care each year, the United States ranks 27th out of 33 developed countries for life expectancy at birth. Leading causes of infant mortality are complications related to pre-term ...

Recommended for you

Blowing smoke? E-cigarettes might help smokers quit

July 26, 2017
People who used e-cigarettes were more likely to kick the habit than those who didn't, a new study found.

Brain disease seen in most football players in large report

July 25, 2017
Research on 202 former football players found evidence of a brain disease linked to repeated head blows in nearly all of them, from athletes in the National Football League, college and even high school.

Safety of medical devices not often evaluated by sex, age, or race

July 25, 2017
Researchers at Yale and the University of California-San Francisco have found that few medical devices are analyzed to consider the influence of their users' sex, age, or race on safety and effectiveness.

Why you should consider more than looks when choosing a fitness tracker

July 25, 2017
A UNSW study of five popular physical activity monitors, including Fitbit and Jawbone models, has found their accuracy differs with the speed of activity, and where they are worn.

Dog walking could be key to ensuring activity in later life

July 24, 2017
A new study has shown that regularly walking a dog boosts levels of physical activity in older people, especially during the winter.

Study finds 275,000 calls to poison control centers for dietary supplement exposures from 2000 through 2012

July 24, 2017
U.S. Poison Control Centers receive a call every 24 minutes, on average, regarding dietary supplement exposures, according to a new study from the Center for Injury Research and Policy and the Central Ohio Poison Center, ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.