Table of Contents
International Journal of Family Medicine
Volume 2012, Article ID 960523, 7 pages
Research Article

Responding to Domestic Violence in General Practice: A Qualitative Study on Perceptions and Experiences

1New York University School of Medicine, New York, NY 10016, USA
2Department of Emergency Medicine, Maimonides Medical Center, Brooklyn, NY 11219, USA
3Centre for Academic Primary Care, NIHR National School for Primary Care Research, School of Social and Community Medicine, University of Bristol, Bristol BS8 1TH, UK

Received 29 July 2012; Revised 17 October 2012; Accepted 19 October 2012

Academic Editor: Kate Joyner

Copyright © 2012 Howa Yeung et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


The perceptions and experiences among general practitioners (GPs) and nurses in identifying female patients experiencing domestic violence and referring patients to specialist agencies need to be clarified. Eleven GPs and six nurses participating in a multidisciplinary domestic violence training and support programme in east London and Bristol were interviewed. All participants recognised that identification of women experiencing domestic violence and offering support were part of their clinical roles. Perceived differences between GPs and nurses, including time constraints, level of patient interaction, awareness of patients' social history, scope of clinical interview, and patient expectations were used to explain their levels of domestic violence inquiry. Barriers to inquiry included lack of time, experience, awareness of community resources, and availability of effective interventions postdisclosure. Longstanding relationships with patients were cited both as barrier and facilitator to domestic violence disclosure. Some nurses reported discomfort with direct inquiry due to the lack of clinical experience in responding to domestic violence despite satisfaction with training. Future domestic violence training programmes should take into account potential differences between GPs and nurses, in terms of their clinical roles and the unique barriers encountered, in order to improve self-efficacy and to facilitate collaborative and effective responses.