National Domestic Violence Hotline Blog

Finding Ways To Make a Difference

The following blog entry is written by Michael Foti, Editor of the Legal Network.

As the Editor of the Legal Network, I’m often faced with the challenge of providing interesting, relevant content for our readers.  At the same time, I try to use my position as an outlet to create change and make a difference.  Combining the two can often be challenging, however when it came to domestic violence, it seemed like a match made in heaven.

Initially my goal was to raise awareness on the legalities of domestic violence and the applicable laws. I had my team write numerous articles on these topics but the more research I did, the more I felt compelled to provide additional content.  The fact is, I realized just how overlooked domestic violence is in our society.

This conclusion hit me after we compiled a list of DV statistics.  I was ASTONISHED by the results our research provided.  Here’s a few examples:

1. Over 1/4 of women are raped or sexually assaulted at some point in their life by their partner.
2. More than 50% of women that are killed by a firearm are murdered by their partner.
3. Nearly 1.5 MILLION women are physically assaulted by their partner every single year in the US.
4. Close to 33% of women that are murdered are killed by an intimate partner.

The list goes on and on.

The bottom line is this: Domestic violence is an issue that plagues our society and must be paid the proper attention.  Considering I deal with the law and legal issues each and every day, I think I’m qualified to say that DV is severely under-prosecuted by law enforcement.  Maybe stricter punishment would help deter sexual assault, however there is something we can all do to help: RAISE AWARENESS.  Victims need to be made aware of their options, as well as where they can turn for help.  The amazing thing about all these statistics is that those are the KNOWN accounts, nevermind how many women are attacked or raped and never come forward.  Approximately 18% of women that experience domestic violence do not report it to the authorities.  Chances are, those women were afraid because they were unaware of exactly what type of assistance they could receive..until now.

Check out for a comprehensive list of domestic violence resources, including domestic violence laws and organizations victims can turn to.

National Domestic Violence Hotline Awareness

Katie Couric Speaks With Teen Dating Abuse Experts

katie-ndvhKatie Couric and CBS Evening News have dedicated themselves to raising awareness for teen dating abuse. Back in December 2009, they featured a very extensive segment on teen dating violence. Katie Couric has followed up the report with an interview with dating violence experts Jane Randel and Catherine Pierce yesterday for her new web show @katiecouric. Jane Randel is a member of the National Advisory Board for the National Domestic Violence Hotline. Click here to view the full show.

National Domestic Violence Hotline Blog

Domestic Violence: Medical Records Can Sound an Early Warning

The following blog entry is written by Nancy Fliesler. It originally appeared on Thrive, Children’s Hospital Boston’s health and science blog. It is being featured on our blog with permission.

Domestic abuse often goes undiagnosed until too late — yet medical records often contain subtle clues that doctors often lack the time to fathom out. Now, researchers from the Children’s Hospital Informatics Program and Division of Emergency Medicine demonstrate that tapping commonly available electronic health records could help doctors spot abuse early. This display, designed for physicians, pulls a patient’s diagnostic history into one view, sounding an alert when the pattern of visits suggests possible domestic abuse.

Each colored bar above represents a diagnoses recorded in the patient’s chart, grouped by category, during the four years before her abuse diagnosis; the most recent diagnoses are shown at the bottom. The color coding denotes the degree of abuse risk, calculated using data from the study (green, low risk; yellow, medium risk; red, high risk). As indicated by the blue “detect” arrow, the system would have sounded an alert as early as 34 months before domestic abuse was actually diagnosed.

In the future, the researchers hope that their models can detect when a person is at risk for abuse before abuse even occurs. Although the study, published in the British Medical Journal, was done in adults, the plan is to validate the model in children, too, and to develop similar models for conditions that are often missed, like depression and early-stage diabetes. According to Ben Reis, PhD, who led the project, such “intelligent histories” are an important step toward the larger goal of predictive medicine — helping busy physicians not by making diagnoses for them, but by offering a decision support tool that can flag patients who merit specific screening.