Primary Docs Urged to Start Screening Female Patients for Domestic Abuse
Task force wants them to begin protecting "all populations"
A panel of medical experts that advise the federal government have recommended that primary care doctors begin screening women for domestic violence during their visits. The task force said that screening for intimate partner violence showed a "moderate net benefit" and that the risks associated with disclosing the abuse were small. Intimate partner violence includes physical violence, sexual abuse, psychological abuse, stalking and reproductive coercion (intimidation that increases the risk of unplanned pregnancy). If abuse is confirmed, physicians should refer them to intervention services, including counseling, home visits, and mentor programs. The guidelines apply to women aged 14 to 46. "The bottom line is that more research is needed on how primary-care clinicians can effectively screen and protect all populations, including older and vulnerable adults, middle-aged women, men and children from abuse and violence," said Dr. David Grossman. (LA Times)