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Scand J Caring Sci. 2018 Mar;32(1):138-146. doi: 10.1111/scs.12439. Epub 2017 Aug 3.

Challenges in interprofessional collaboration: experiences of care providers and policymakers in a newly set-up Dutch assault centre.

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Department of Primary and Community Care, Gender & Women's Health, Radboud University Nijmegen Medical Center, Nijmegen, The Netherlands.
Department of Clinical Psychology Behavioural Science, Institute Radboud University Nijmegen, Nijmegen, The Netherlands.



Sexual and family violence are problems that affect many women and men, and the negative health consequences of violence are numerous. As adequate acute interprofessional care can prevent negative health consequences and improve forensic medical examination, a Centre for Sexual and Family Violence was set up.


We aimed to improve our understanding of the challenges in interprofessional collaboration in a newly set-up centre for sexual and family violence.


We conducted a qualitative study with semi-structured interviews about the experiences with interprofessional collaboration of 16 stakeholders involved in the Centre for Sexual and Family Violence Nijmegen. Participants were selected by purposive sampling.


Participants found that the interprofessional collaboration had improved communication and competences. However, there were challenges too. Firstly, the interprofessional collaboration had brought parties closer together, but the collaboration also forced professionals to strongly define their boundaries. Mutual trust and understanding needed to be built up. Secondly, a balance had to be struck between pursuing the shared vision - which was to improve quality of care for victims - and giving space to organizations' and professionals' own interest. Thirdly, care for victims of sexual and family violence could be demanding on healthcare providers in an emotional sense, which might jeopardize professional's initial motivation for joining the Centre for Sexual and Family Violence Nijmegen.


The interprofessional collaboration in an assault centre improves quality of care for victims, but there are also challenges. The tasks of an assault centre are to create opportunities to discuss professional roles and professional interests, to build up good interpersonal relations in which trust and understanding can grow, to formulate a strong and shared victim-centred vision and to support care providers with training, feedback and supervision.


assault centre; compassion fatigue; family violence; interprofessional collaboration; professional identity; qualitative research; self-interest; sexual violence

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