Better Provider Training and Coordination of Services Can Help Victims of Domestic Violence

The Health Research and Educational Trust of New Jersey (HRET), a nonprofit affiliate of the New Jersey Hospital Association (NJHA), conducted a survey of how New Jersey hospitals identify, treat, and refer victims of domestic violence (DV).

It surveyed 67 emergency department medical directors, 80 emergency department nurse managers, 75 in-hospital social workers, and 18 directors of women's shelters and DV programs.

HRET distributed two reports based on the survey to staff of New Jersey hospitals.

Key Findings

The surveys found that:

  • There is a need for better linkages between hospitals and community agencies that assist DV victims.

  • Most health care providers lack DV training.

  • There is a low utilization of screening tools for DV.

  • Obstacles, including patient unwillingness to discuss DV, cultural and language barriers, and lack of training, impede identification of victims.

Key Recommendations

HRET recommended:

  • Improved hospital screening for DV.

  • Centralized hospital DV services.

  • Better DV training for clinicians and community workers.

  • Improved communications between hospital and community providers.