According to a new study from health centers in the Chicago area, questioning women about domestic violence by means of a computerized questionnaire and providing them a list of local abuse resources had no effect on their health or quality of life.
Back in June the U.S. Preventative Services Task Force, a government-funded panel, drafted recommendations calling on doctors to screen women for intimate partner violence and refer those flagged as showing warning signs. Experts are saying that the test shows that merely providing passive referral resources likely isn't enough to help victims of domestic violence to address their situation.
According to a 2010 survey conducted by the CDC, roughly one-quarter of all U.S. women have suffered from severe physical violence committed by a partner at some point in their life.
The recent study is part of an ongoing attempt to determine the best way to identify victims of domestic violence and provide them with the resources they need. Health care providers, it is widely acknowledged, are in a good situation to identify women suffering from domestic violence and provide some type of intervention.
Domestic violence is a serious problem in our society, and efforts to curb such behavior should be encouraged. What is concerning, though, from a criminal defense perspective, is that those accused of domestic violence typically face an onslaught of criticism and condemnation before they are even proven to be guilty.
Domestic violence situations can be complex, though investigating police don't always fully understand what happened in an altercation before they make an arrest and issue citations. Those charged with domestic violence often face immediate consequences in their careers and personal lives.
It is important for anybody accused of domestic violence to do all they can to build a positive defense for themselves. Meeting prosecution with a strong defense can help steer a case in a favorable direction.
Source: Reuters, "Screening for domestic violence doesn't always help," Genevra Pittman, August 14, 2012