This week the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) released a new domestic violence study that found that passive screening for domestic abuse did not significantly help the health or wellbeing of the participants over the time span of one year. In fact, a computer screening test and printed list of domestic violence resources were not statistically more effective than no screening at all.

While the results of this study at first seem bleak, researchers say that it suggests an important point: the best kind of domestic violence screening is one that is personal, compassionate, and face-to-face.

In the past, other studies have confirmed that while it may be uncomfortable for some, direct questions and personal conversation can be the best screening tactic for healthcare professionals to use.

Strategies for Starting The Conversation 

Specifically, counselors have found that the following strategies are most effective:

  • Speaking privately and face-to-face with a patient.
  • Speaking away from family members and without a family or friend interpreting.
  • Making it clear that you are a neutral and non-judgmental confidant.
  • Using both oral and written questions.
  • Providing resources after confirming a patient may be in an abusive situation.
  • Understanding that different patients respond to different approaches (direct questioning or indirect questioning).

Successfully screening for domestic violence in Washington State is key to helping victims escape unhealthy environments and get the support and counseling that they need. It is also key to eliminating domestic abuse and making certain that abusers find justice. While more research is required, this study helps us better understand which tactics for screening help most.

Are you the victim of domestic violence and would you like to take legal action against your abuser? At the Law Offices of Molly B. Kenny, we are dedicated to helping Washington State residents with their domestic abuse cases. Call us today at 425-460-0550 to schedule a private consultation with a WA family law attorney.

Molly B. Kenny
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Divorce and Child Custody Attorney Serving Bellevue and Seattle Washington
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