WORKING WITH BATTERED WOMEN: A Handbook for Health Care Professionals


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Children's Safety


  • Ask the patient if she has children and what arrangements she has made to ensure their safety. Ask questions such as: "Do you have children? What are their ages? Where are they now? Did they see what happened?"

  • Children who live with a woman who is being abused are often at risk themselves. They may be abused directly or have witnessed abuse, which can be psychologically damaging. It is therefore important to ask if the children may be experiencing or witnessing abuse, and to advise her of services for children such as a children's group, school psychologist or community health nurse, where available. If required, report the situation to the social services agency, advising the woman that all professionals are legally required to report child welfare concerns.

  • If she is planning on going to a shelter for abused women, either she or you should call the shelter to see if there is space available.

  • She may need some assistance in arranging transportation for herself and her children to wherever she has decided to go.

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