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When Your Patient Is a Perpetrator

Confidentiality and safety principles must be adhered to if a patient discloses family violence, and the violent person is also your patient.

It is advised to refer your patients either to another doctor or another health care institution and not to discuss the issue of violence with him, unless asked by the victim. Safety protocols must be adhered to in health care institutions and safety plans must be drafted in order to help victims.

It should be discussed in health care institutions in the presence of all medical staff how to react in the case of domestic violence, to establish a general reporting practise to the responsible institutions. The staff has to be clear on how to react.

If it is suspected that the patient is a victim of repeat violence and does not want to report it to the police, he/ she should nevertheless be provided with the information about the services provided to the victims of domestic violence.

Discuss the possibility that the medical staff reports to the police if there is an imminent risk to the human life or health. Remember that the duty to disclose all information for the sake of the public interest is greater than the confidentiality provision.