Health care settings provide an immense opportunity for health care providers to address the problem of domestic violence. Patients who are at risk of abuse, who are being abused, or have been abused are likely to seek services for regular health care, injuries, or chronic health problems related to abuse. In addition, patients who use violence against their partners are also likely to seek health services. This provides opportunities for health care providers to prevent or respond to domestic violence by identifying patients who are using violence or being abused, documenting abuse, guiding patients affected by domestic violence in safety planning, and making referrals to advocates. Health care providers are also in a unique position to engage in primary prevention. This can be done by disseminating information about domestic violence through on-going dialogue with patients about healthy relationships or by educating against domestic violence through posters, pamphlets, and brochures.
This special collection on health care and domestic violence draws heavily from the work of the Futures Without Violence National Health Resource Center on Domestic Violence. The resources included in this special collection are organized into the following five areas: 1) the impact of domestic violence on health; 2) public health approaches to domestic violence prevention; 3) guidelines and issues concerning identification and intervention by health care providers; 4) information about collaboration between health care providers and domestic violence advocates; and 5) training. This special collection also includes a bibliography of related journal articles. For information on federal regulations, state statutes and policies relevant to addressing domestic violence in health care settings, including information on mandatory reporting laws, please visit the website of the National Health Resource Center on Domestic Violence.