Aims NICE guidance on DV recommends routine enquiry (RE) and specific training for professionals in healthcare settings where children are seen.1 DV features in 2/3 serious case reviews.2 In 2012, a SCR following the death of 2 local children recommended that routine enquiry about DV be implemented in Community Specialist Child Health Services (SCHS). Routine enquiry about DV was implemented SCHS April 2013. The rate of enquiry was examined at 6 months post implementation of routine enquiry and 18 months later and any complaints caused by the policy of RE 2.5 years later.
Methods A retrospective audit of records of new patients seen (Sept – Oct inclusive) 2013 and 2014 was undertaken within each of the 6 teams in Specialist Child Health: Physiotherapy (PT), Speech Therapy (SaLT), Occupational Therapy (OT), Specialist Community Children’s Nursing (SCCN), Community Paediatrics Lambeth (CPL) and Community Paediatrics Southwark (CPS).
20 records were randomly selected for each team (120 in total including:
Whether a record of routine enquiry for DV was made
Whether the client said YES to occurrence of DV
A review of complaints was conducted in November 2015 (total 55).
Results See Figure 1.
Conclusion Rate of enquiry found on audit of new patients by all teams was high. This equates to a very large number of women asked about DV across Community services. The literature indicates victims want to be asked and do not object.3 Enquiry may eventually lead to victims disclosing DV, getting support and children being safeguarded. Barriers to introducing RE include professionals’ worries about causing offence4 however we have found the policy of RE resulted in no complaints in 2.5 years.
Recommendation 6 Ensure trained staff ask people about domestic violence and abuse, NICE guideline PH50 Feb14
Brandon et al. DFE-RR226. New learning from Serious Case Reviews: a two year report for 2009–2011
N Westmarland et al. 2004: Routine Enquiry about DV in General Practice: a pilot project
Kevin Hamberger, Mary Phelan: Domestic Violence Screening in Medical and Mental Health Care settings: Overcoming Barriers to Screening, Identifying, and Helping Partner Violence Victims’, 2006
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