How to enquire about the possibly experienced violence
If you suspect that the patient might have possibly experienced violence at home, you have to communicate with her one to one, without the presence of a partner or other member of a family.
If you suspect that the patients might be experiencing violence, you may start the conversation from some general questions and later ask about the partner’s violence directly.
You may always ask more general questions to find out whether the patient’s personal relations influence her health and wellbeing. For example,
“What is the situation at home?”
“How are you getting on with your partner?”
“Is there anything that might influence your health?”
Surveys show that women victims of violence want to be asked about violence at home. There is a higher possibility that they would open up if a doctor or other medical staff ask about it.
You can ask about violence more directly in the following way:
“Has it ever happened that you were afraid of your partner?”
“Are you concerned about your safety and the safety of your children?”
“Does your partner’s behaviour make you feel unhappy and crushed?”
“Has your partner ever physically threatened or injured you?”
“Domestic violence is very widespread. But no one should live being afraid of one’s partner, therefore I often ask my patients about violence.”
Once you notice typical clinical characteristics, you can ask specific questions, for example, about the bruises you see or say:
“You seem very worried and nervous. Is everything ok at home?”
“When I see such injuries I wonder has anyone hurt you?”
“Maybe there is something that we have not discussed that could have contributed to such a state of yours?”
If a patient finds it difficult to communicate in a language that you understand, ask a qualified interpreter for help, but do not use your partner’s, family member’s or children’s interpreting services. This might pose a threat to her safety or make her feel uneasy telling about her situation