The 131st Annual Meeting (November 15-19, 2003) of APHA

The 131st Annual Meeting (November 15-19, 2003) of APHA

4112.0: Tuesday, November 18, 2003 - 1:05 PM

Abstract #55790

Reaching out to victims of domestic violence in health care settings

Catherine H Hamilton, PhD, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Vermont, New York University Robert F. Wagner School of Public Service, 1 East Road, Montpelier, VT 05601, 802-371-3625,

Problem/Significance & Purpose: Results from a Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Vermont survey suggested that many clinicians lacked knowledge and tools to support women who present signs of domestic abuse. Two thirds of practitioners surveyed suggested that their offices were not equipped to adequately screen victims of domestic abuse, three quarters reported they were not equipped to document the signs of abuse for court records, and one half said they lacked up to date information on referral resources. The objectives of this project were to provide and test practical and effective tools that improve provider knowledge; core competencies and the quality of treatment for patients. In addition, the project was designed to reach out to patients who may be experiencing abuse with safety information.

Implementation: All primary care, emergency room and ob/gyn practitioners in the state of Vermont received a copy of the toolkit. Contents included a physician’s guide, a victim safety poster with a pocket of victim safety cards providing safety tips about leaving an abusive relationship and where seek support and help in getting free.

Evaluation: A comparison of means showed a 52% (.010) increase in clinicians’ ability to screen patient for abuse, a 43% increase in their ability to document the signs of abuse and a 30% increase in ability to refer to community-based support services. 96% of practitioners are satisfied with the tool kit and welcome the intervention as a practical, low cost tool to encourage behavior change and promote patient safety.

Learning Objectives:

Keywords: Domestic Violence, Violence Prevention

Related Web page: video on the project on

Presenting author's disclosure statement:
Organization/institution whose products or services will be discussed: Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Vermont University of Vermont Department of Family Practice Vermont Network Against Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault
I have a significant financial interest/arrangement or affiliation with any organization/institution whose products or services are being discussed in this session.
Relationship: Employed by BCBSVT Am not selling product, will provide tool kit in PDF for free

Injury Control: Information Technology and Injury Interventions

The 131st Annual Meeting (November 15-19, 2003) of APHA