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Keywords:

  • abuse;
  • Emergency Departments;
  • guidelines;
  • High Risk Clinics;
  • midwives;
  • nurses;
  • survey;
  • women

Abstract

Title. Identifying abuse among women: use of clinical guidelines by nurses and midwives.

Aim.  This aim of this study to identify the incidence of violence against women seeking healthcare services and evaluate the use of clinical guidelines to identify interpersonal violence.

Methods.  A cross-sectional survey was carried out. Data were collected over a period of 7 months in 2005 and 2006. The samples consisted of 14 nurses, 10 midwives and 208 women in Iceland (101 women visiting the Emergency Department and 107 receiving prenatal care at the High Risk Prenatal Care Clinic).

Results.  Twenty women (19·6%) who visited the Emergency Department and 21 women (19·8%) who came to the High Risk Prenatal Care Clinic had been sexually abused at some point in their lives by close family members. Within the preceding 12 months, 18 women at the Emergency Department (19·1%) and eight at the High Risk Prenatal Care Clinic (7·5%) reported physical abuse, and 22 women (22·2%) at the Emergency Department and 12 (11·5%) at the High Risk Prenatal Care Clinic reported emotional abuse. A majority of the nurses and midwives indicated that the guidelines were efficient for assessing/screening for gender violence in emergency and high risk clinical settings.

Conclusion.  Screening for abuse of women at emergency and high risk clinics is crucial, not only to offer the women the immediate interventions they might need, but also to ensure the future provision of appropriate healthcare services.