Police, prosecutors and the threat of jail time have been society’s main weapons against domestic violence since the 1980s. Yet only a small percentage of abuse victims ever make a 911 call or have any contact with criminal justice. They suffer quietly, away from help.
Even the most isolated abuse victim will likely be treated at some point by a doctor, nurse or other health care provider. It may be for injuries directly sustained at the hands of a batterer. It may be for treatment for less direct symptoms, physical or psychological. Even if her visit is for treatment that’s completely unrelated — contact of any kind represents an opportunity for getting help to people who need it.
“Power and Control,” explores (all too briefly) some dimensions of the health response to domestic violence. Much of Kim’s story has to do with suffering physical, psychological and familial consequences of abuse. The psychological impact of the constant abuse puts Kim in the hospital before she leaves Josh. And another bout of hospitalization plays another fateful part in how Kim’s relationship with Josh unfolds.
Our more specialized 20 minute film on domestic violence and health care offers a detailed look at how health care providers can best prevent and treat domestic violence. We filmed at Mercy Medical Center in Baltimore, MD, gaining unusual access to doctors, nurses and patients in the ER, mother baby, pre-op and other units. We profile Colleen Moore, coordinator of Mercy’s family violence program and also interview Jacquelyn Campbell of Johns Hopkins, perhaps the leading expert on the health impact of domestic violence.
It was Campbell’s recommendation that first led us to film at Mercy.
I hope the films and the online resources at this site can play a role in medical and nursing education at all levels. Please feel free to contact me with any questions or suggestions.