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Int J Family Med. 2012;2012:960523. doi: 10.1155/2012/960523. Epub 2012 Nov 6.

Responding to domestic violence in general practice: a qualitative study on perceptions and experiences.

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New York University School of Medicine, New York, NY 10016, USA.


The perceptions and experiences among general practitioners (GPs) and nurses in identifying female patients experiencing domestic violence and referring patients to specialist agencies need to be clarified. Eleven GPs and six nurses participating in a multidisciplinary domestic violence training and support programme in east London and Bristol were interviewed. All participants recognised that identification of women experiencing domestic violence and offering support were part of their clinical roles. Perceived differences between GPs and nurses, including time constraints, level of patient interaction, awareness of patients' social history, scope of clinical interview, and patient expectations were used to explain their levels of domestic violence inquiry. Barriers to inquiry included lack of time, experience, awareness of community resources, and availability of effective interventions postdisclosure. Longstanding relationships with patients were cited both as barrier and facilitator to domestic violence disclosure. Some nurses reported discomfort with direct inquiry due to the lack of clinical experience in responding to domestic violence despite satisfaction with training. Future domestic violence training programmes should take into account potential differences between GPs and nurses, in terms of their clinical roles and the unique barriers encountered, in order to improve self-efficacy and to facilitate collaborative and effective responses.

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