• GP’s need more training to tackle Domestic Violence

    August 31, 2012

    Domestic Violence Advice

    There seems to be a lot of `news` lately about General Practitioner’s (GP’s), needing more training on the nature of Domestic Violence, and more support needed for them to detect and intervene. (See article below)


    What is surprising is why this is news now – as this has always been an issue; but thanks to a study of clinicians in London and Bristol the obvious has been stated.

    Domestic Violence has an impact on a Victim, and the effects often show within the body and the immune system,, they may present with a range of diverse issues; apart from the obvious such as bruises, cigarette burns, broken bones etc…they may present with depression, low moods, unexplained weight loss, inability to sleep, agitated, alcohol or substances abuse issues, poor hygenie, presenting with symptoms where sometimes there is no evidence on investigation of an illness or reason…sometimes Victims attend the GP Practice because they are desperate to reach out to someone and get help, some are told by the perpetrator that the violence and abuse is their fault and that they are unstable and are `mad` and they need to get help, some Victim’s may always see the GP with their partner present and the partner controls the conversation (now there may be some patients who visit the GP who are not in a DV relationship but need the reassurance of their partner in the room but it is definately a sign to look out for). Victims of domestic violence quite often have low self esteem and confidence, and seem timid, and apologetic – others may have repeatedly been told by their partner that GP’s are like any other public authority and that they are not to be trusted and if they get involved things will be difficult and if any children are within the relationship then they will get taken away so the Victim might seem cagey and offhand to the GP.

    It is a difficult position for GP’s to be in especially where demands are placed on them by their own practice targets i.e time spent with the GP; in some GP Practices these days its almost like you get shipped in and shipped out extremely quickly and before you know it your out of the door not having said half the things you wanted to say….bearing this in mind if a Victim of DV attends the GP Practice it is highly unlikely that they are going to tell the GP within 5-10 Minutes that they are a Victim and need help; even if it is a GP that they have seen before which is also a rarety these days – there needs to be a rappore built before a Victim can trust someone else enough to tell them that they are a Victim of Domestic Violence, especially if they are not sure of the process that would follow if they did disclose.

    So yes training needs to be stepped up so there is more awareness of the complexities and nature of domestic violence and abuse, more training on the signs to look out for, and more training on the `bedside` manner; as Victims are extremely vigilant at reading the body language of others; as they have learnt to read the signs of their violent and abusive partner, so any negativity or any perceived feeling received by the Victim that the GP does not believe them will often result in that Victim shutting down and not disclosing again.

    For many years Domestic Violence Forums (agencies working together in partnership to address Domestic Violence within their area), have included the National Health Service, and also the Primary Care Trusts with the partnership, and the NHS and PCT’s have worked hard and driven forward initiative regarding Domestic Violence, and also many GP’s and Practices have been on board with tackling Domestic Violence; I can remember in my role as Chair of a Domestic Violence Forum in Essex organising a Domestic Violence Conferences back in 2001; and not only did the PCT help fund the conference there was a high level of attendance by GP’s.

    As with all agencies and organisations work is done on local levels and there is clear evidence of good practice; but more needs to be done at the centre of an organisation to pull all divisions, branches, and practices together so they are all working to the same policies and practices and there needs to be mechanisims in place if these policies and practices are not adhered to.

    Why are we constantly re-inventing the wheel when good practices is out there.


    If you or someone you know is or has been affected by Domestic Violence and would like Counselling to work through their experiences then why not visit our website www.selyortherapycentre.com or call 01244 760113 for an appointment.

    For agencies or organisations who require domestic violence awareness training then either contact www.selyortherapycentre.com or www.tinaroyles.com  01244 760113 for details on training

    About Tina Royles

    Connet with me: Google+ Tina Royles is the UKs leading expert in domestic violence offering Domestic Violence Counselling, Relationship Counselling and Anger as well as Stress Management Counselling. She is one of the UK’s most qualified and experienced domestic violence experts providing consultancy and advice to those who have suffered domestic violence, are currently in violent relationships or to friends and family of those affected. Tina provides the materials and tools to manage relationship difficulties and domestic violence through awareness and education and is regularly called upon by the national and local press to provide expert comments on high profile cases. Tina Royles

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