WORKING WITH BATTERED WOMEN: A Handbook for Health Care Professionals
Table of Contents
IV. SAFETY PLANNING/PROTECTION
Assessing Her Safety:
As a medical professional, your most pressing concern is to deal with the woman's safety. After her injuries have been attended to, you must assist her in planning for her physical and emotional safety once she leaves your office or hospital (see Interviewer's Checklist, Appendix A).
Her options may include:
Assessing Her Risk:
In deciding whether or not to return home, the woman has to determine whether she is at risk if she does return. You may wish to ask a few questions to assist her in assessing her current level of danger:
Questions to Assess Risk:
If she answers yes to any of these questions, she is likely at increased risk of physical assault or even murder.
If you believe a woman is at risk or danger if she returns home, you should tell her so honestly. However, battered women are in the best position to assess their levels of danger, so if she decides to return home after discussing this issue with you, you must respect her decision. Intervention should be aimed not at making decisions for her, but at facilitating her ability to think through alternatives and seek an acceptable course of action for herself.
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