2010 News

Domestic violence: what nurses need to know


From the Massachusetts Nurse Newsletter
January/February 2010 Edition

In June 2008, the Massachusetts Department of Public Health issued a public health advisory on domestic violence, citing the drastic increase in domestic violence homicides over a four year period. With the current economic downturn, rates of family violence and abuse are likely to increase.

On April 26, the MNA will sponsor a domestic violence training program, “Domestic Violence: What Nurses Need to Know” at the MNA office in Canton, 340 Turnpike St., from 5:30 to 9 p.m. Designed to help nurses better identify and respond to cases of domestic violence in the health care setting, the training will feature these topics: “Understanding Domestic Violence,” “The Impact of Domestic Violence on Children, Families and Society,” “Effective Nursing Interventions” and “An Overview of the Criminal Justice System.” Presenters will include professional staff from the Department of Public Health, the Middlesex district attorney’s office, Tufts University and a nurse who has survived domestic violence.

Come and learn assessment skills to identify victims of domestic violence, how to communicate effectively to enable victims to seek help and the many resources available to provide assistance and security. Federal statistics show 37 percent of all women who seek emergency room treatment have been injured by a current or former spouse with the annual national cost of domestic violence exceeding $5.8 billion, including direct medical and mental health costs for victims. Beyond injury, other medical issues for which victims of domestic violence are treated are innumerable. The February 2008 edition of Mortality and Morbidity Weekly reported that women who experience intimate partner violence are at high risk for heart disease, stroke, asthma, heavy drinking and for requiring the use of a cane or wheelchair. Depression, anxiety, insomnia, headaches and backaches are other common symptoms exhibited by victims of abuse.