Domestic Violence and Health Care Protocols


There are a number of important steps to take in preparing a health care setting or practice for identifying and responding to patients experiencing domestic violence. It is critical to develop or adapt protocols that assist and support staff. This approach enables the staff in any health care setting to respond to domestic violence in a comprehensive and institutionalized manner including screening, identification/assessment, treatment, documentation, safety planning, discharge planning and referral.

Futures Without Violence has selected model protocols from various health care settings across the United States as well as highlights about the health care practice that has implemented the model protocol. As you will see, some of the protocols are comprehensive and others brief but adequate in addressing the role of providers. There are protocols that address specific settings and others that demonstrate creative strategies in responding to domestic violence or lifetime exposure to violence. All are designed to provide you with a blueprint for preparing for and responding effectively and efficiently to patients experiencing domestic violence.

Minimal Elements of a Domestic Violence Protocol & Implementation of a Domestic Violence Protocol

Model Protocols:

Domestic Violence and Strangulation Policy (Brigham and Women’s Hospital, MA)

Guidelines for Clinical Assessment and Intervention (Warm Springs Health and Wellness Center, OR)

Employee Domestic Violence Policy and Procedure: Guidelines for Increasing Safety and Providing Support (Warm Springs Health and Wellness Center, OR)

San Francisco Department of Public Health

Protocol for Adolescent Relationship Abuse Prevention and Intervention (Futures Without Violence)