Helping GPs manage domestic violence

Wednesday, 30 August, 2017

Helping GPs manage domestic violence

A new tool will help general practitioners (GPs) assess their readiness and preparedness to deal with domestic violence.

GPs may not have the confidence to detect domestic violence, and sometimes feel challenged in providing responses. The developers of this world-first assessment tool hope to change this.

Developed by University of Melbourne researcher Dr Traci Po-Yan Leung, the new scale is the first directed specifically at GPs to assess their perceived readiness to identify and respond to domestic violence or intimate partner abuse.

Dr Leung conducted a qualitative GP study and a literature review to generate the General Practitioners’ Perceived Readiness to identify and respond to Intimate Partner Abuse Scale (GRIPS). She surveyed 287 Australian GPs and GP registrars, and analysed their responses to provide psychometric evaluation of the GRIPS.

“The GRIPS is a well-defined and easily administered scale, requiring approximately 15 minutes to complete,” Dr Leung said. “It was found to be useful in research and training, and ultimately aims to successfully facilitate disclosure and identification.”

Before this, the widely used survey tools have focused on knowledge, attitudes, beliefs and self-reported behaviours. This framework has not adequately taken into account emotional and motivational factors.

The new scale (GRIPS) comprises three subscales: self-efficacy, motivational readiness and emotional readiness. It has contributed to domestic violence literature by taking these into account and allowing a more accurate assessment on GPs’ perceived readiness to deal with DV based on cognitive, motivational and emotional factors.

Published in the Australian and New Zealand Journal of Public Health, the survey also revealed that GPs with domestic violence training, more years in general practice and more clinical experience in domestic violence identification and response had higher perceived self-efficacy than those who had less training and relevant experience.

Motivational readiness was also found to be significantly associated with clinical experience in identifying intimate partner abuse and taking responsive actions, but not related to intimate partner abuse training and years in general practice.

GPs with more clinical experience in general practice and who have taken responsive actions tend to report higher perceived emotional readiness than those with less related experience.

“To increase the likelihood of translating training outcomes into behavioural changes, the existing beliefs and value systems GPs bring with them deserve research attention,” Dr Leung said. “Training should enhance a sense of purpose and legitimise GP roles to intervene in intimate partner abuse cases by emphasising humanitarian values and caring concepts.”

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