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Pandora Doesn't Live Here Anymore: Normalization of Screening for Intimate Partner Violence in Australian Antenatal, Mental Health, and Substance Abuse Services

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Routine screening for intimate partner violence (IPV) has been widely introduced in health settings, yet screening rates are often low. A screening policy was introduced statewide in Australia in antenatal, mental health, and substance abuse services. Annual snapshot indicates a sustained screening rate of 62%–75% since 2003. Focus group research with health care workers from 10 services found that initial introduction of screening was facilitated by brief, scripted questions embedded into assessment schedules, training, and access to referral services. Over time, familiarity and women's favorable reactions reinforced practice. Barriers remain, including lack of privacy, tensions about limited confidentiality, and frustration when women remain unsafe. Screening added to the complexity of work, but was well accepted by workers, and increased awareness of and responsiveness to IPV.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 01 February 2011

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