New guidance on domestic abuse from the Royal College of General Practitioners


All general practices will be interested in this 4-page document from the Royal College of General Practitioners, which will help them respond to the Department of Health strategic objective about domestic violence.

The guidance provides an overview to help general practices develop their own domestic abuse policy.  It also includes resources to help the practice team, including a process map for responding to domestic abuse and a services directory.

Key recommendations from the document:

  • The practice manager should build strong partnerships with local domestic abuse services and ensure domestic abuse training for the practice team
  • The practice should establish a domestic abuse care pathway, so that the team understands the correct process for identifying abuse, responding to disclosure, risk assessment, referral and information sharing
  • Direct referral to a domestic abuse service for further assessment of any patient disclosing abuse to a clinician should take place. Some practices may develop an internal referral route to a practice nurse or other health professional with additional domestic abuse training who will conduct the specialist assessment
  • Domestic abuse should also be addressed by the local strategic lead for the clinical commissioning group

Diana Barran, Chief Executive of the national charity Co-ordinated Action Against Domestic Abuse who produced the guideline collaboratively with the RCGP said:

There isn’t a victim, child or perpetrator who doesn’t have a GP.  This means that GPs are in a unique and trusted position to help victims through early identification and signposting to specific support services. By supporting GPs to give a consistent response, this new guidance will help make victims safer.


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