There is more to referral than just handing a patient a number. By offering support to facilitate the referral process, providers can increase the likelihood that a patient follows through with a referral. Two strategies are helpful:
- Offering a patient the use of a phone at the clinic to call an advocate or a DV hotline can be a safer strategy. Abusive partners often monitor phones and text messages, so it is important to offer the use of a private phone in the clinic to a patient so she can make the call to a shelter or advocacy program without the number being traced by her partner.
- Get to know the resources in your area and what they offer, what languages they speak, what services they offer, how to get there by bus or car or if they have transportation services etc. Getting to know the names of staff there also help you make a more effective referral.
“I want you to know that on the back of this safety card there are national hotline numbers with folks who are available 24/7 if you want to talk. They can connect you to local services if you need more urgent help. Also, I know (insert; name of local advocate) who I can put you on the phone with right now if you would like to talk to her.”
See clinical guidelines below for more information on supported referral and what to do if patients say yes, but don’t want to discuss the abuse.
- A Guide to Addressing Intimate Partner Violence, Reproductive and Sexual Coercion
- Hanging Out or Hooking Up: Clinical Guidelines on Responding to Adolescent Relationship Abuse
- National Consensus Guidelines on Identifying and Responding to Domestic Violence Victimization in Health Care Setting