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Domestic violence is often unreported and under recognized

Violence among intimate partners is a common problem that often goes unrecognized and unreported across the country. A study revealed that in addition to routine screening procedures, radiologists could assist in identifying those who suffer from domestic violence. In California, hospital staff can play a significant role in uncovering abuse.

Doctors assume an essential role looking for signs of abuse in emergency room patients. By screening patients of suspected abuse, they can provide access to support programs, domestic abuse shelters and counseling. Studies show that by utilizing untapped resources, such as X-ray, MRI and CT scans, hospitals may be able to reveal signs of abuse. Radiologists who see injuries at different points and think it is a repeated problem can play a vital role in putting the pieces together. 

Hospitals can offer the same checks for adults as they do for children with non-accident related trauma. Staff can investigate further, take extra steps and ask additional questions that may not have been brought up otherwise. Specialized training can help hospital staff differentiate between abuse-related trauma and injuries resulting from accidents.

Not every case that comes into the emergency room is related to domestic violence, but it is important for hospitals to be prepared and have the proper screening procedures in place. In California and every other state, experts agree that intimate partner violence affects millions of Americans each year and is a severe public health problem. It may benefit victims to contact a lawyer who is well versed in areas of abuse. An attorney can answer questions and inform clients of their legal options.

Source: insidescience.org, "Scanning for Signs of Domestic Abuse", Jason Socrates Bardi, Jan. 26, 2018

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