For many years, ACOG has joined other local, state, and national organizations in sponsoring October as Domestic Violence Awareness Month to raise awareness about this public health epidemic. Activities often include campaigns encouraging domestic violence awareness in the workplace and in health care settings, charity shopping days and national days of recognition. Call your local domestic violence shelter to find out how you can participate this year.
Additionally, ACOG has participated in Health Cares about Domestic Violence Day, sponsored by the Family Violence Prevention Fund. ACOG encourages its Fellows to screen all patients for violence at regular, ongoing intervals. This is a good day to begin to do so if you aren't already including questions about violence in your health assessments. The Family Violence Prevention Fund website includes information about screening for your information.
ACOG renews its recommendations that all health care providers conduct screening of all patients at regular intervals. Screening should occur
- at routine annual examinations
- at preconceptual visits
- once per trimester for pregnant patients
- at post partum examinations
Screening must be conducted in private and can be done quickly by using direct questions. (Click here to view ACOG screening tool). The use of relatives (including children) as translators should be avoided. Responses should be charted and appropriate referrals made as warranted. Safety planning should be conducted following disclosure. (Click here for Safety Plan). More information on domestic violence can be found in ACOG documents Educational Bulletin #257 entitled "Domestic Violence" and Committee Opinion #200 entitled "Mandatory Reporting of Domestic Violence." The technical bulletins and committee opinions have been withdrawn and replaced by the following chapters Intimate-Partner Violence and Domestic Violence, Sexual Assault, and Adult Manifestations of Childhood Sexual Abuse in "Special Issues in Women's Health". ACOG members may access the chapters by clicking here.