Screening for domestic violence in the community pediatric setting

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OBJECTIVE: Children exposed to domestic violence (DV) can experience a variety of adverse effects such as behavior disorders, developmental delay, and child abuse. Recently, the American Academy of Pediatrics recommended that all pediatricians incorporate screening for DV as a part of anticipatory guidance. To date, however, there is little information on how likely women are to disclose DV or whether there are any benefits to screening in the pediatric office setting. The purpose of our pilot study was to gain an understanding of whether screening for DV in the pediatric office setting could be helpful to abused women and their children. METHODS: During a 3-month period, 92% of the women who accompanied their children for a well-child visit to a hospital-based suburban pediatrician were asked about violence in the home with a six-question screening tool. RESULTS: Of the 154 women screened, 47 (31%) revealed DV at some time in their lives. Twenty-five women (17%) reported DV within the past 2 years and were reported to the mandated state agency. There were 5 episodes of child abuse reported of which two had not been previously reported. Interestingly, there were 5 women injured during their most recent pregnancy and who had separated from their abusive partner, but no legal action had been taken to protect them from their partner's return. There was no significant difference in the incidence of DV reported in families with Medicaid (37%) versus private insurance (20%). Before routine DV screening in our office, only one previous DV report had been made in 4 years. CONCLUSIONS: Our preliminary results suggest that many women will reveal DV when screened in the pediatric office setting. Also, there is a subgroup of women, those with young children who have recently separated from their partners, who may particularly benefit from DV screening
Adolescent, Adult, adverse effects, Age Factors, Child, Child Abuse, Child,Preschool, community, CPRG, Diagnosis, disorders, Domestic Violence, effects, Family, Family Characteristics, Female, hospital, Human, Incidence, Infant, Infant,Newborn, information, Insurance,Health, Kentucky, Logistic Models, Mass Screening, Medicaid, Methods, Pediatrics, Pilot Projects, Pregnancy, Spouse Abuse, statistics & numerical data, understanding, United States, Violence, women