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

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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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Andre Tomlin

Andre Tomlin

André Tomlin is an Information Scientist with 20 years experience working in evidence-based healthcare. He's worked in the NHS, for Oxford University and since 2002 as Managing Director of Minervation Ltd, a consultancy company who do clever digital stuff for charities, universities and the public sector. Most recently André has been the driving force behind the Mental Elf and the National Elf Service; an innovative digital platform that helps professionals keep up to date with simple, clear and engaging summaries of evidence-based research. André is a Trustee at the Centre for Mental Health and an Honorary Research Fellow at University College London Division of Psychiatry. He lives in Bristol with his wife, dog and three little elflings.

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