Irish Medical Organisation

IMO hosts special webinar to help doctors identify and manage cases of Domestic Abuse

GPs are seeing increased incidents of domestic violence during the Covid 19 lockdown according to Dr. Madeleine Ní Dhalaigh, GP and IMO Committee member.  Dr. Ní Dhalaigh was speaking on a special webinar on Domestic Violence organised by the IMO for members which took place on Wednesday evening (22nd July). 

The webinar was organised to increase understanding of how best to recognise and manage incidents of domestic abuse and the supports available to victims of abuse.  The webinar featured GPs Dr. Ní Dhalaigh, Dr. Sumi Dunne and Dr Lisa Cunningham who is a 5th year SpR in Emergency Medicine.

The webinar heard some harrowing facts:

  • A women suffering from domestic abuse will on average endure 35 violent attaches before reporting it to the Gardai.
  • There were almost 17,000 disclosures of domestic abuse against women in 2018.
  • There was a 25% increase in reported domestic abuse calls to Gardaí during lockdown 

The webinar discussed how GPs can support victims of Domestic Abuse including discussions on how GPs can initiate conversations to explore cases of suspected abuse and how GPs can support victims to manage abusive situations and, where necessary, to escape from abusive relationships.

Dr. Ní Dhalaigh said that women are more likely to disclose abuse to their GP and GPs had to be more vigilant than ever for possible cases: “GPs can play a key role in identifying possible abusive situations and supporting victims of abuse.  Unfortunately it is becoming more and more common for GPs to have to deal with such situations in the course of their daily work but we can make a real difference to our patients lives if we play our part and help them to deal with or escape from abusive relationships.”

Victims of Domestic violence will often have visit the ED multiple times said Dr Lisa Cunningham “As doctors in emergency departments, we have a responsibility for a holistic approach to a patient with domestic violence. It may be their last chance to get help.”

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