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The Domestic Violence Screening Form: My solution for improving the screening process

Posted May 06 2010 2:01pm

The idea that I had yesterday that would improve the screening process for domestic violence patients too afraid to verbally admit to domestic abuse in a hospital setting is as follows. I would appreciate any feedback on this idea from victims and survivors so that I can improve my idea and submit this to my Assemblyman for consideration.

If, and only if a staff member in a hospital remembers to do a domestic abuse screening, it is usually a few direct questions such as "Are you in any danger?" "Have you been a victim of domestic violence?", and most domestic violence victims will not admit to abuse due to fear of retaliation. As a survivor of domestic violence, I feel that patients need two options to give a truthful answer during the screening process. For one thing, I was never separated from my abuser and I was not screened in 2007. To address situations like these, where the offender is at the victim's side, the victim should be screened as usual, but then also be given a form to sign where he/she must answer the same screening questions again and sign the document. I feel that this "double" screening is important because the victim will have another chance to answer the screening questions truthfully, without stating anything out loud in front of the abuser. If I had the chance to tell my doctor about the abuse in some other way rather than verbally, I would have. If I had a chance to circle a few answers on a sheet of paper that would have held my abuser accountable, I would have. Screening today is too direct, too short, and many times the staff members are not separating the offender from the victim.

This is a rough draft of the DV screening form I'm proposing
1. Are you in danger? Y/N

2. Are you a victim of domestic violence? Y/N

3. Are your injuries a result of abuse? Y/N

4. Do you need help? Y/N

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