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Violence Against Women: Synthesis of Research for Health Care Professionals

NCJ Number
Date Published
December 2000
35 pages
Publication Series
This federally funded report presents an overview for health care professionals of the latest empirical research on the physical and mental health effects of domestic violence and sexual assault, a brief history of the evolution of the health care system relating to violence against women, and presents suggestions for clinical practice based on the research.
Since the mid-1980's, research from many disciplines has provided a clearer picture of the extent of mental and physical health effects of violence against women. By building on an existing research base, the health care system can become a place for battered women and their children to find safety and support. This report funded by the U.S. Department of Justice, National Institute of Justice, synthesizes the latest scientific research on the physical and mental health effects of domestic violence and sexual assault. The report describes the limited research on the effectiveness of interventions in the health care system, emphasizes nursing research and practice, and concentrates on health effects of physical and sexual violence against women perpetrated by current and former intimate partners. Advocacy and research combine to start the process of shaping a health care system which offers effective prevention strategies and interventions for abused women across the complete continuum of violence. The report is organized into three sections: (1) physical and mental health effects of violence against women; (2) history of health care’s response to battering; and (3) research-based practice recommendations. Highlights of recommendations include: (1) increase screening; (2) use nontraditional health settings to prevent and address intimate partner violence; (3) adapt a wait-and-see policy regarding mandatory intimate partner violence reporting; (4) provide routine intimate partner violence screening for women entering family planning centers; (5) provide culturally specific assessment, interventions, and research; (6) use a proven, research-supported intervention; and (7) provide increased training to nurses and other health care professionals. Although continued research is needed, health care professionals may build on an impressive existing research base. References

Date Published: December 1, 2000