The Royal College of General Practitioners (RCGP) has released guidance to help GPs respond more effectively to patients at risk of domestice abuse. The guidelines advocate that a senior member of each primary care team is tasked with co-ordinating an effective response to patients at risk of domestic violence. See RCGP press release.
The ability to respond to patients effectively remains a Department of Health strategic priority. Each practice should explore local service provision and engage with relevant services. It should commission training for staff to help all members of the primary care team to be able to recognise the signs and symptoms of domestice abuse, to be able to raise the issue and to respond sensitively to the patient.
Clear pathways into local sevices should be developed, alongside information sharing protocols.The practice should also identify a designated person, who may be a domestic abuse expert or a suitably trained member of the healthcare team. This person is responsible then for carrying out risk assessments, having a case load, referral on to further specialist support and for ensuring the team have clarity around child protection issues.
At a strategic level the RCGP recommends that the Clinical Commissioning Groups have an overview of the commissioning and co-ordination of services which all form part of the jigsaw of recognition and support for people suffering from domestic violence. These services will include A&E, alcohol specialist services, maternity services and child protection services.
The guidelines are supported by Identification and Referral to Support Safety (IRIS) and by Co-Ordinated Action against Domestic Abuse (CAADA). See this link for the Home Office's definition of domestic abuse.
Alcohol Concern have produced an Embrace knowledge resource on domestic abuse.