Intimate Partner Violence Documentation and Awareness in an Urban Emergency Department.
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Vonkeman, J., Atkinson, P., Fraser, J., McCloskey, R., & Boyle, A. (2019). Intimate Partner Violence Documentation and Awareness in an Urban Emergency Department.. Cureus, 11 (12)https://doi.org/10.7759/cureus.6493
Background Domestic violence rates in smaller cities have been reported to be some of the highest in Canada. It is highly likely that the staff at emergency departments (ED) will come in contact with victims of intimate partner violence in their daily practice. The purpose of this study is to better understand current practices for detecting intimate partner violence, staff awareness and knowledge regarding intimate partner violence, and barriers to questioning about intimate partner violence in the ED. Methods A standardized retrospective chart review captured domestic violence documentation rates in patients presenting to the ED, and a cross-sectional online survey was distributed to the ED staff. Results We found documentation about intimate partner violence in 4.64% of all included patient charts. No documentation was noted in the domestic violence field. Significantly, 16.4% of the ED staff reported never questioning female patients about intimate partner violence; 83.6% enquired when they thought it appropriate, and none asked routinely. None of the staff used a structured screening tool, and 81.8% of the ED staff had not received any formal training. Partner presence was the most common barrier to asking about intimate partner violence, followed by a lack of access to domestic violence management information, and a lack of knowledge regarding intimate partner violence. Conclusions Our findings suggest that the current documentation tools are not being properly utilized. Low rates of intimate partner violence documentation in high-risk patients and lack of education indicate that there is a need to improve current practices. In order to improve identification of this important problem, appropriate training and education about intimate partner/domestic violence are required to increase staff comfort as well as knowledge about available community resources for the victims.
Domestic Violence, Emergency Department, Intimate Partner Violence
External DOI: https://doi.org/10.7759/cureus.6493
This record's URL: https://www.repository.cam.ac.uk/handle/1810/303244
Attribution 4.0 International
Licence URL: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/