Women's Perceptions of the Impact of a Domestic Violence Treatment Program for Male Perpetrators

Karen S. Hayward, PhD, RN, SANE-A; Susan Steiner, PhD, RNC, FNP; Kathy Sproule, MS, RN, FNP-C

Disclosures

J Foren Nurs. 2007;3(2):77-83. 

In This Article

Implications for Clinical Forensic Nursing Practice

Based on the findings of this study, batterer treatment programs do have some impact on the relationship in preventing further use of violence in an intimate relationship. Health care professionals, particularly forensic nurses, can take an active role in screening and responding effectively to domestic violence (Gerard, 2000). Most women will confide in their health care provider about domestic violence if asked directly. Often they hope and expect that the provider will recognize the situation and offer support and advice (Edwards, 2005). Forensic nurses must be aware of referral sources in the community for women who experience violence and provide the support necessary for them to get help after they leave the health care organization. In addition, nurses should do this in a way that does not jeopardize the women's safety. Initially recognizing domestic violence, then providing compassionate care, support, referral, and education are critical steps for the nurse to help prevent further violence.

As new models are being discussed in the continued development of batterer treatment programs, forensic nurses can actively participate. Forensic nurses frequently respond to the health care needs of women experiencing violence, and can thus offer a unique perspective (Bennett & Williams, (n.d.); Cavanaugh & Gelles, 2005). Because women often remain in a relationship with their partner after experiencing violence, forensic nurses must be aware of -- and actively participate in -- ways of responding effectively. They should also be involved in developing programs that help reduce recurrence (Bennett & Williams, [n.d.]).

Substance abuse is a major risk factor in interpersonal violence, therefore nurses should provide appropriate referral and intervention options.

Participation of forensic nurses on a local task force, law enforcement committee, or state coalition addressing violence, will provide needed linkages between the health care system and community-based efforts toward ending violence against women and children. Forensic nurses can be actively engaged in a collaborative process bridging the health care and criminal justice systems to improve response to women, children, and families outside of the traditional health care organization.

Finally, forensic nurses can also help alleviate violence against women by developing nursing curricula that address ways to enhance response and appropriately treat perpetrators.

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