Government sponsored group expected to recommend domestic violence screening, P.1

After looking at data compiled by researchers at the Oregon Health & Science University in Portland, the United States Preventative Services Task Force (USPTF) found that physician screening of all female patients for signs of partner violence, either by means of a questionnaire or face-to-face, can help prevent the occurrence of domestic violence. The USPTF is a government-sponsored panel of health care experts that evaluate the latest scientific evidence on clinical preventative services.

The USPTF is expected to issue new recommendations on the matter based on findings that the benefits of such screening outweigh their potential risks, which include making women feel uncomfortable or depressed. That recommendation would be the most recent since its last recommendations were issued in 2004.

In the USPTF's 2004 recommendation, domestic violence screening wasn't recommended for all women, but only for those who displayed symptoms of physical abuse, such as physical evidence.

The recent research reviewed by the USPTF showed that a handful of screening tools used in previous studies were "highly accurate" in detecting which women were facing intimate partner violence. Most of the tools involved asking questions either on a questionnaire or in conversation with a doctor.

The USPTF's recommendations have a tendency to become the standard of care in the medical community, so they could have far-reaching effects.

While no defense attorney would deny the importance of putting an end to real domestic violence, it is work reminding our readers of the dangers of promoting policies which seek to "crack down" on domestic violence.

In our next post, we'll continue with this topic.


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