Talk to your patients about domestic violence - it could save a life

Population-based data indicates that nearly one-third of American women will experience domestic violence during their lifetime. Domestic violence has also been associated with 8 of the 10 Healthy People 2010's leading health indicators (e.g., substance abuse, mental health).

Healthy People 2010's health indicators reflect major health concerns at the beginning of the 21st century. Additionally, in a recent report released by the Centers for Disease Control, total health care costs associated with domestic violence were estimated at nearly $4 billion annually.

Research indicates that regular, face-to-face screenings by health care providers for domestic violence markedly increases the identification of victims, as well as those who are at risk for verbal, physical and sexual abuse. Early identification of domestic violence can help victims escape before the violence gets out of control. You can help your patients think about options before things get worse.