This chapter refers directly to the health needs of abused women; however, the same principles should be applied to those individuals in abusive relationships who are male, gay, bisexual or transgender clients. The chapter explores how domestic abuse can be challenged by those working in healthcare arenas through established good practice including aspects of multi-disciplinary intervention as appropriate.
Prevention of domestic violence to women can be conceptualised in two ways: preventing violence occurring in the first place, or, more commonly, preventing repeat attacks. The vast bulk of work world-wide has focused on attempting to reduce the incidence of repeat victimisation by provision of legal, welfare and social supports for women; and to a more limited extent attempting to control and change male offenders.
(Morley and Mullender 1994:16)
The report suggests that early intervention in the violent process is an essential factor if the man is to change his abusive behaviour. It is extensively documented that over time domestic abuse and violence escalate in both frequency and severity and that the longer it goes unchallenged by the perpetrator the worse it becomes. Moreover, his violence is almost certainly sustained across future sexual relationships thus endangering the well-being of every woman with whom he has a relationship.
For intervention to be effective women need to be convinced that seeking help at the earliest opportunity is the preferred strategy for survival. Regrettably the majority of international prevalence studies indicate that a woman is injured multiple times before she seeks professional help, whilst others are mortally wounded.
Therefore, the persistence of domestic violence and abuse ought to be challenged by those who are in a position to do so. Only when the topic is placed high on the health