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Violence Vict. 1992 Fall;7(3):217-28.

Attitudes and practices of doctors toward spouse assault victims: an Australian study.

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Australian Institute of Criminology Canberra.


The attitudes and practices of 96 doctors toward spousal assault victims in the Australian Capital Territory, Australia, were investigated by questionnaire surveys distributed to general practitioners. The results indicate that although most doctors believe that members of their profession should play a role in prevention and treatment, many doctors may be failing to do so. In general, the sample was fairly homogeneous attitudinally, although long-serving practitioners tend to have more conservative attitudes about the causes of spousal assault and about doctors' role in prevention; and female doctors have more liberal beliefs than males about some aspects of causation and intervention. However, the latters' responses are less sympathetic when questioned about their own feelings and practices. Very few of the doctors had received any training on domestic violence issues, and for those that had, such training was minimal. There is nevertheless an indication that training has influenced some beliefs. The findings are not surprising in the context of the historical and current Australian ethos which perpetuates traditional gender stratification and wife battering.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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