A survey of mental health professionals' knowledge, attitudes and preparedness to respond to domestic violence

Sarah Nyame, Louise M Howard, Gene Feder, Kylee Trevillion

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)

28 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

BACKGROUND: A high proportion of psychiatric service users experience domestic violence, yet most cases remain undetected by clinicians.

AIMS: This study aimed to assess mental health professionals' knowledge, attitudes and preparedness to respond to domestic violence.

METHOD: Information was collected on psychiatrists' and psychiatric nurses' knowledge, attitudes and preparedness towards the assessment of domestic violence, using an adapted Physician Readiness to Measure Intimate Partner Violence Survey.

RESULTS: One hundred and thirty-one professionals were surveyed. Only 20 (15%) professionals routinely asked all service users about domestic violence and just 36 (27%) provided information to service users following disclosure. Most professionals (60%) felt that they lacked adequate knowledge of support services, and 27% felt that their workplace did not have adequate referral resources for domestic violence. Nurses reported greater readiness to assess and manage domestic violence than psychiatrists (p < 0.001), despite psychiatrists reporting greater overall knowledge (p < 0.001).

CONCLUSIONS: Mental health professionals need to have clear referral pathways for service users who experience domestic violence, and to receive training on enhancing their knowledge and competencies to address domestic violence.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)536-43
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Mental Health
Volume22
Issue number6
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2013

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