Author(s): Robinson L, Spilsbury K
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Abstract This systematic review synthesizes evidence on the perceptions and experiences of adult victims of domestic violence when accessing healthcare services. The review was concerned with disclosure of domestic violence by adult victims when accessing health services, the responses of healthcare professionals to these victims, victims' perceived barriers to support, and the appropriateness of support and referrals. These aims required the review to focus on studies using in-depth qualitative methods to explore victims' perceptions and experiences. A comprehensive systematic search of 12 databases was carried out in June/July 2005. Application of the review protocol and inclusion criteria resulted in 10 studies (conducted in the UK, USA and Australia) being considered eligible for the review. Data were extracted from these studies and a quality assessment completed. Thematic analysis was carried out to enable the identification of recurrent themes within the included studies. Findings indicate that victims of domestic violence experience difficulties when accessing healthcare services. Victims perceive that these difficulties can be attributed to inappropriate responses by healthcare professionals, discomfort with the healthcare environment, perceived barriers to disclosing domestic violence, and a lack of confidence in the outcomes of disclosure to a health professional. The methodological quality of included studies was variable, but no papers were rejected based on quality issues. These results can contribute to and inform a comprehensive assessment of the experiences of adult victims of domestic violence when accessing healthcare services. The health service is in a unique position to contribute towards the assessment and identification of domestic violence and to provide access to appropriate support. The messages of this study are important for policy-makers and practitioners.
This article was published in Health Soc Care Community
and referenced in Arts and Social Sciences Journal