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Help for doctors in responding to domestic abuse

Victims of domestic violence will have an additional source of help when new domestic abuse guidance for general practices is released this June.

The guidance includes key principles to help GPs and healthcare staff respond quickly and effectively to patients who disclose domestic abuse.

“There isn't a victim, child or perpetrator who doesn't have a GP,” said Diana Barran, Chief Executive of national charity Co-ordinated Action Against Domestic Abuse. “This means that GPs are in a unique and trusted position to help victims through early identification and signposting to specific support services. By supporting GPs to give a consistent response, this new guidance will help make victims safer.”

The guidance advises general practices that:

  • The practice manager should build strong partnerships with local domestic abuse services and ensure domestic abuse training for the practice team.
  • The practice should establish a domestic abuse care pathway, so that the team understands the correct process for identifying abuse, responding to disclosure, risk assessment, referral and information sharing.
  • Direct referral to a domestic abuse service for further assessment of any patient disclosing abuse to a clinician should take place. Some practices may develop an internal referral route to a practice nurse or other health professional with additional domestic abuse training who will conduct the specialist assessment.
  • Domestic abuse should also be addressed by the local strategic lead for the clinical commissioning group.
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