BMA to doctors: tackle unspoken epidemic of domestic abuse

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Domestic Abuse

In a report of Tuesday, 19 June the BMA is calling on doctors and all health professionals to be increasingly aware of domestic abuse as an issue that needs urgent attention.

The report "Domestic Abuse" produced by the BMA's Board of Science says doctors need to ask their patients the right kind of questions about domestic abuse and respond appropriately. It recommends that training in dealing with domestic abuse should be provided to all health professionals.

Domestic abuse is extremely common and it is important for doctors to recognise this, says the report. While this is a crime which affects both men and women, statistically 80% of reported domestic abuse victims are women.

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The report states that domestic abuse is prevalent in all parts of society. Domestic abuse does not discriminate and affects many vulnerable groups, including disabled and older people.

Key points in the report include:

  • around 750,000 children a year witness domestic abuse

  • around 30% of domestic abuse begins during pregnancy

  • partner abuse is as common and as prevalent among same-sex couples as among heterosexual couples

  • the total cost of domestic abuse to services in England and Wales [criminal justice, health, social services, housing and legal] amounts to around

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