Last year, 51 Hoosiers died as a result of domestic violence and nearly 8,000 adults and children sought refuge in shelters statewide.
Domestic violence happens when one person in an intimate relationship claims the right to control and criticize the other person’s feelings, behavior and actions. The violence, or controlling behavior, happens through physical, psychological, sexual, economic and emotional abuse.
While studies show that patients would like their doctors to ask them privately about abuse, only 10 percent of physicians actually screen for violence during patient visits.
Physician members of ISMA’s Family Violence Committee urge you to screen for domestic violence by asking patients: “Have you been hit, kicked, shoved or scared by someone?” But victims of domestic violence should also understand that they can talk with their physicians or other professionals about abuse.
To help you, the committee has developed materials for screening, counseling and referring patients who might be victims of domestic violence. They include:
- Just Ask - This free reference guide and screening tool outlines eight steps to help doctors query and assist victims.
- Resource Cards - These small cards list phone numbers for shelters and other support agencies and may be placed in special cardholders that hang on the wall of patient restrooms. They also are available in Spanish for central Indiana only. The cards are free to members and cost $7.70 for 100 cards for nonmembers. Cardholders are $6.70 each.
- Screening forms - Documentation is vital when treating a domestic violence victim. This form provides a check-off list to help physicians record injuries; the free form includes a body diagram and a safety assessment tool.
- Domestic Violence InfoGuide - This 24-page reference guide details steps a victim can take to leave an abusive relationship. The free booklet explains how to develop a safety plan and file a protective order. It also includes a statewide list of shelters and other supportive organizations.
Find these materials on the ISMA resources page or call the ISMA at (800) 257-4762 or (317) 261-2060.
Free 911 cell phone program
The Free 911 Cell Phone program collects, re-programs and distributes 911-capable mobile phones to those who cannot afford an emergency phone but face life-threatening situations or potential abuse. ISMA members have collected and distributed more than 1,500 used cell phones throughout the state.
Physicians, practices, hospitals and others participate in the program. Find information about the program here.
Learn how you can participate by calling Dan Kelsey at the ISMA.