Since I am going into the field of psychology, community psychologists have interest in promoting systems change to improve the lives of individuals and communities. Systems change efforts frequently involve the implementations of reforms across a wide variety of organizations that make a system, as well as reforms with the individuals that compromise those organizational settings such as medical providers as well as individual. Domestic violence has increasingly been seen as a health care issue, beginning with immediate and long term physical and emotional health and well-being.
Ideally, health care settings can provide an avenue for enhancing domestic violence intervention by reaching women with abusive partners and offering appropriate assistance. In many studies there has been evidence that domestic violence survivors support the practice of having physicians ask them privately about their abuse they have experienced. Screening for domestic violence typically begins with asking female patients about current or past experiences with physical or sexual abuse at the hands of their spouse, partner, or ex-spouse or ex-partner.
National organizations such as the American Medical Association endorse routine domestic violence screening. Although screening has the potential to play an important role in successfully identifying and supporting victims, efforts to keep consistent screening by health care providers is often unsuccessful. Domestic violence is an issue that carries significant social stigma and has only recently been defined as a health care issue.
Providers sometimes have a problem in their beliefs about domestic violence as a health care issue and screening as a health care practice. Providers may feel that screening is an invasion of patient privacy or that screening is unlikely to result in positive outcomes. Providers have indicated that they lack sufficient knowledge and skills to do routine screening. So if I would want to initiate help it would be with the medical community and community law enforcement, giving them the training to understand to help victims of violence.
And I would definitely want to start with families, maybe in social services and in schools, in helping them to break the cycle of violence that has almost become mainstream America. Since this is a widespread epidemic all population should be made aware of this problem, it isn’t really a problem for just the poor or the rich.
Reference: Rappaport, J. (1977). Community psychology: Values, research and action. New York, N. Y. : Holt, Rinehart & Winston.
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