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Violence Against Women: Synthesis of Research for Public Health Policymakers

NCJ Number
Date Published
May 2003
37 pages
This document describes the content and implementation of several potential policy interventions for violence against women.
In recent years, health care facilities have been called on to develop and implement universal screening policies for violence against women -- routine inquiry about violence for all women, at every visit. Proponents cite the high prevalence and incidence of violence among both the general female specific patient populations, serious health-related consequences of violence, and the lack of a consistently discernible victim profile. Barriers include the reluctance to invade family privacy and shortage of time during patient visits. Mandatory reporting of domestic violence has been suggested as a means to enhance patient safety and care; increase identification, documentation, and data collection; improve the health care response; assist law enforcement agencies; and hold perpetrators accountable. Evidence as to the effectiveness of this policy is scarce, and a number of concerns have been raised about potential unintended consequences. Empirical literature is scarce on the existence, outcomes, and effectiveness of health care provider curriculums and training programs pertaining to violence against women. Most of the evaluations are limited to pre-intervention and post intervention surveys of participants’ knowledge and attitudes. The purpose of public health surveillance is to monitor the occurrence of health problems at the population level, examine trends over time, and enable the assessment of progress of interventions in improving the population’s health. No policies have been established to implement surveillance systems or other mechanisms to monitor violence against women at the State or national level. In an effort to examine the circumstances surrounding domestic homicides and to improve the application of intervention strategies, a number of States and counties have created multi-disciplinary, multi-agency fatality review teams. The goals of the teams are to better understand, intervene in, and prevent homicides. Funding and implementation of rigorous evaluations that can document the positive and negative effects of policy changes are critical. There should be continuous and open communication among researchers, advocates, and policymakers. 160 references

Date Published: May 1, 2003