Domestic Violence Intervention a Success among American Indians

Article excerpt

EAT YOUR vegetables. Don't play with matches. Finish your homework. Respect women. These are the phrases printed on one of the many posters created in conjunction with an innovative domestic violence project aimed at helping American Indian and Alaska Native women and their children.

Begun in 2002 with funding from agencies such as the Indian Health Service and U.S. Administration for Children and Families, the Domestic Violence Project actively engages health providers in screening women using IHS health facilities for domestic violence problems. And the program has garnered significant success: In 2004, only 4 percent of American Indian and Alaska Native women interfacing with IHS facilities were screened for domestic violence, but thanks to the program, screening is up to 48 percent, which surpasses national screening goals.

The results were detailed in "Building Domestic Violence Health Care Responses in Indian Country: A Promising Practices Report," which was released at a Washington, D.C., news conference in June. To combat the problem of domestic violence, the project recognized the benefits of going to health care providers to identify and prevent abuse, and in the process has trained thousands of health care providers and community advocates, and established sustainable domestic violence response programs in hospitals and clinics. A major goal of the project focused on prevention and early screening.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 39 percent of American Indian and Alaska Native women reported that at some time in their lives, they were victims of intimate partner violence. Such women are more likely than victims of other demographic groups to need hospital care. …