Family doctors in Glasgow are now treating more women and
children for domestic violence than for cancer, heart disease or
diabetes, according to a survey by Greater Glasgow Health
The number of women visiting GPs as a result of domestic abuse
is comparable to the level of demand for family planning services
or the treatment of infections.
The survey, presented at a board meeting of the health board,
pointed out that many doctors were unaware that domestic violence
was the underlying reason for a high proportion of consultations,
and urgent training was now required to respond to an issue
estimated to be costing the board £18 million per year.
Across the UK research shows that a quarter of women will face
violence from a partner or former partner. Almost one in seven
women have been raped by their partners while sexual abuse is
experienced by one in eight boys and one in twelve girls.
Sue Laughlin, women’s health co-ordinator for the health
board, said the board had now decided to respond to the epidemic of
domestic abuse and added: “We know from the study that staff are
under pressure at casualty units, and the pace there means they may
not be best placed to deal with someone who has suffered
The board has been running a pilot training scheme at Glasgow
Royal Infirmary with counsellors on hand to support women
identified as suffering domestic abuse. The board now intend to
introduce training for all hospital staff city-wide.
Laughlin said: “By making more resources available we hope staff
will be able to deal more appropriately with these patients.”