Lenahan PM, Najm WI, Stokes GE
UCIMC Department of Family Medicine, ORANGE, California, USA
Family violence has been identified as a public health epidemic, one that crosses all ethnic, religious, social, and political boundaries. In the United States, it is estimated that one in three women will be abused at some point during their lives. A recent study in the Journal of the American Medical Association estimates that physical violence occurs in four to six million intimate relationships annually in the United States. At the same time, more than three million children, who are exposed to violence by family members committed against their mothers, become the “incidental” victims of domestic violence. Children who are present in the homes where violence occurs, are more likely to become victims of abuse themselves. Without intervention, boys who grow up in abusive homes have a high likelihood of becoming abusers themselves. These children are more likely to experience emotional, behavioural, and psychological consequences of the violence in the home. This workshop will describe a unique partnership between a university family medicine program, a women's shelter, and a local police department, which helps medical students and residents to identify family violence at the time it occurs in the home. Students and residents ride with specially trained police officers and community volunteers to provide advocacy, counselling, and resource information to the victims of violence and their families. Through this program, residents have become more adept in identifying violence among their ambulatory patients.