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ABSTRACT

When health care providers do not assess routinely for abuse, it most likely is a result of the powerful social myths surrounding domestic violence and a lack of knowledge about incidence, prevalence, and the dynamics of abuse. This article examines commonly held myths as well as personal and social constraints that cause practitioners not to assess for abuse. Additionally, it presents guidelines for the assessment of individual women, as well as professional role development in the area of abuse of women and suggests that nurse-midwives are generally well positioned to assess their clients for the health problems of violence and abuse.