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Keywords:

  • Attitudes;
  • Domestic Violence;
  • Israel;
  • Knowledge;
  • Nurses;
  • Physicians;
  • Screening

BEN NATAN M., BEN ARI G., BADER T. & HALLAK M. (2011) Universal screening for domestic violence in a department of obstetrics and gynaecology: a patient and carer perspective. International Nursing Review59, 108–114

Aim:  This study aimed to examine the effect of knowledge, department routine, and attitudes of physicians and nurses on the identification of female victims of domestic violence in Israel, as well as the patients' attitudes regarding the screening process.

Background:  Every seventh woman in Israel is reported to have been victimized by her intimate partner at least once in her lifetime. Routine screening for intimate partner violence is endorsed by the Ministry of Health in Israel; however screening rates in healthcare settings remain low.

Methods:  Correlative, cross-sectional design was utilized based on a sample of 100 physicians and nurses from an obstetrics and gynaecology department in a central Israel hospital and a stratified simple random sampling to recruit 100 former female patients.

Findings:  Both medical and nursing staffs were reluctant to screen women for domestic violence, although the patients interviewed for the study claimed that screening is crucial for preventing domestic violence. Past experience with assessing violence and intention to screen were the most significant predictors of screening behaviour. Several factors impede screening by medical and nursing staff, although it is legally mandated.

Discussion:  Nurses' and physicians' screening of women about domestic violence is a fundamental intervention with implications for health care in general and basic human rights in particular; however attitudes and beliefs must also be considered.

Conclusions:  Screening women about domestic violence is an intervention not usually implemented by physicians and nurses. Understanding barriers to screening may help form feasible policies for improving the quality of services offered to women.