Family doctors in Glasgow are treating more women and children
for domestic violence than for cancer, heart disease or diabetes,
according to a survey by Greater Glasgow Health Board (GGHB).
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 GGHB, highlighted
the fact that many doctors were unaware that domestic violence was
the underlying reason for a high proportion of consultations and
said urgent training was needed to respond to an issue estimated to
be costing the board £18 million a year.
Across the UK research shows that a quarter of women 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 12 girls.
Sue Laughlin, women’s health co-ordinator for GGHB, said: “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 abuse.”
GGHB 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.”