Posts Tagged ‘Domestic Violence’

Are Staff Nurses Prepared to Care for Domestic Violence Victims?

December 25, 2008

As nurses, we advocate for our patients and we attempt to provide them with the best care possible based on theory, evidence-based practice, and research. Nurses advocate for women who are abused and attempt to counsel them on their value and who they are as a person. Nurses attempt to help heal victim’s wounds and find resources for them to continue on with life, preferably a healthy, happy, and safe life. The problem comes in when nurses are unprepared to collect evidence in the ER or office when a domestic violence victim seeks our help. The victim does not often get a second chance and so as nurses we can’t afford to miss anything, and we need to get everything right the first time for these women. How many times have we seen the perpetrator get off free because of lack of evidence? In many large city hospitals forensic nurses are trained and on staff 24/7 to provide care and collect evidence when domestic violence victims are brought in. My question is what happens to the victims that seek care in a small town hospital? Many of these hospitals see domestic violence victims infrequantly and don’t have adequately trained staff to care for them when they do seek help. As a former ER nurse I have been in situations caring for rape victims. We had a kit available but read through it step by step and prayed we performed the exam correctly. I believe a nurse with knowledge of an advanced health assessment can be a great help to victims in being able to detect abnormal findings and reporting them in full detail. This is a great start, but what else can nurses in small hospitals do to make sure domestic violence victims receive care a forensic nurse can give without the forensic nurse qualifications?

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Sexual Assault Homicides

November 19, 2008

It is interesting to note that 44% of sex-related homicides are committed by family members and about one third of these are spouses. This is shocking. Domestic violence laws have come a long way over the past twenty years in this country, but still, the unwillingness of the victim to leave such a situation is heart-breaking. These crimes are said to be repetitive, serious and shocking with the offenders carefully covering their tracks. Of course, the victims have been intimidated and threatened into submission and fear for their lives; this is why they do not flee. They believe they cannot exist without the spouse or significant other in their life. Indeed, these malicious individuals are sexual predators that must be brought to justice. Emergency department nurses need to take a more active stand when victims come in with injuries before the violent outbursts escalate to stop this senseless cruelty. This Forensic Nursing course has opened my eyes to a lot of information. I am much more careful about my documentation and openly direct and blunt with my patients. If I can save one individual, I feel I have done my job. References Lynch, Virginia A. and Duval, Janet Barber. (2006). Forensic Nursing. St. Louis: Elsevier Mosby

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First line of defense

November 18, 2008

Police have stated that the presence of a forensic nurse tends to have a calming effect on both parties in a domestic violence situation. This sounds like a great solution in defusing a potentially dangerous situation. My husband, a retired police officer in the late 70’s, early 80’s says this would have been extremely beneficial in dealing with domestic violence. It would seem that the presence of a nurse, a female, would be perceived as less threatening to both the male and female, allowing for more trust to be established with officers and the nurse.

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