In our fight to eliminate domestic violence toward women and get help for victims of domestic abuse, healthcare professionals have struggled to find a successful way to screen for abuse, to give abuse victims information about resources, and to ultimately remove them from unhealthy situations and environments. Now, a new study that focused on the efficacy of computer screenings has found that passive and impersonal attempts to get victims helps may not have significant results.
Conducted by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), the domestic violence study looked at a group of 2,000 mostly poor, mostly minority women in a large urban area. One third of the women were given a computer screening for domestic violence, and those who show signs of abuse watched a video and received a list of resources. One third of the women were given a list of resources without any screening. One third of the women received no screening and no resources.
The results of the study found that there was no significant change in the health or quality of life of the women who received computer screenings or resources one year after the fact. Researchers say that this information does not necessarily mean that screenings are ineffective, but that perhaps screenings and resources should remain in the hands of women’s doctors and healthcare providers – humans who can talk with victims about their situations and let them know how to access help. The best screening may be a simple, open conversation during appointments.
The CDC has found in the past that one out of four women will be affected by domestic violence in her lifetime.