Building Domestic Violence Health Care Responses in Indian Country: A Promising Practices Report
Intimate partner violence poses a significant health threat across Indian Country. Increasingly, health care professionals recognize that it is a major public health problem that causes grave and lasting harm to individuals, families and communities. In the largest-ever survey of its kind, a 2008 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report on health and violence found that 39 percent of Native women reported that they were victims of intimate partner violence some time in their lives – a rate higher than any other race or ethnicity surveyed. Because most American Indian/Alaska Native individuals are seen at some point by a health care provider, the health care setting offers a critical opportunity for early identification and primary prevention of abuse.
To address this problem, in partnership with faculty from Sacred Circle and Mending the Sacred Hoop Technical Assistance Project, Futures Without Violence, formerly Family Violence Prevention Fund worked with more than 100 Indian, Tribal and Urban health care facilities as well as domestic violence (DV) advocacy programs across the United States to improve the health system response to domestic violence. With funding from the Indian Health Service and Administration for Children and Families, the IHS/ACF Domestic Violence Project began in 2002 and in the years since, has trained thousands of health care providers and community advocates, identified and empowered national experts, instituted sustainable DV response programs in hospitals and clinics, developed model policies and tools to better address abuse and prevent violence, and dramatically increased screening for DV. This report explains how that work that can be replicated.