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Healthcare and Domestic Violence Initiative

Currently, doctors and nurses routinely screen for high blood pressure and high cholesterol but unfortunately, too few screen for domestic or sexual violence.   Our goal at Womanspace is to change this dynamic.  Using our demonstrated success in partnering with other professionals such as law enforcement, the courts, schools, colleges and universities to build a coordinated community response for victims, we will further engage healthcare professionals to join the collaborative effort to potentially save lives and provide the opportunity to prevent future incidences of domestic and sexual violence.

The Womanspace Healthcare Initiative was developed by a team of healthcare professionals and domestic violence advocates and is based on a national model intended to encourage routine screening of all patients for histories of interpersonal violence.

  • The Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations (JCAHO) has set standards for responding to domestic abuse. 
  • The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) has recognized domestic violence as a serious public health issue. 
  • This August 2011, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Secretary announced guidelines for complete insurance coverage – without co-pays – of Domestic Violence screening and counseling as part of women’s health care. 

The Womanspace Healthcare Initiative is actively building partnerships in the Mercer County Healthcare Community.  In the past year, we:

  • Successfully partnered with University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Brunswick, becoming a rotation site for third year medical students and participating in the presentation of a training of all third year students and the University.
    • Feedback is overwhelmingly positive both from the medical students and from our clients who are choosing to participate in the training project. 
  • We presented at the New Jersey Obstetrics and Gynecological Society Annual Meeting in Atlantic City in June, 2011
  • We participated in a day-long conference at Capital Health, Hamilton Campus on October 14, 2011 entitled “Breaking the Silence: Understanding and Treating Hidden Disorders.”

We’re just getting warmed up! Our goal is to train every healthcare professional in Mercer County in how to effectively screen a patient, and how to refer a victim. We plan to provide educational webinars on screening practices as well as in-office training. We enthusiastically seek your involvement and interest as we create the same strong ties to the healthcare community that we have with so many other arms of human services in the county.

Don’t hesitate – please contact us if you would like someone on our team to provide training or technical assistance in developing and implementing a screening protocol – as well as provide materials and resources.

Call Pat Hart, Executive Director Womanspace, Inc, 609-394-0136.

It is vital to remember that to help a victim we need to decrease her isolation and by kindly asking a few key questions and understanding how to respond, a door to safety can be opened for someone who may not have known that a door to safety existed for her. 

Contact us for training or technical assistance in developing and implementing a screening protocol – as well as obtain materials and resources.

Call Pat Hart, Executive Director Womanspace, Inc, 609-394-0136.

Mercer County

Domestic Violence & Sexual Assault 24 Hour Hotline

(609) 394-9000

New Jersey Statewide

Domestic Violence 24 Hour Hotline

(800) 572-SAFE (7233)

For callers with hearing or speech impairments:

(TTY) 888-252-SAFE (7233)

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