Domestic violence against women is a worldwide phenomenon affecting women of all age groups and socio-economic backgrounds. It may take the form of mental, as well as physical or sexual abuse. Pregnant women are not excluded from being abused. The physical and mental health of women who suffer domestic violence is compromised in comparison with women who are not subjected to violence. These women are reluctant to report their problem to physicians and they, in turn, do not sufficiently investigate the possibility of exposure to domestic violence with their patients. In Israel there is comprehensive protective legislation concerning domestic violence against women and a developed welfare system managed by social workers. Nevertheless, the efforts to protect and help these women will remain futile without early recognition, identification and referral of such women by the attending physicians. Among physicians, the obstetrician/gynecologists have a unique role, since on many occasions they serve as the primary care physicians of women who suffer from domestic violence. They are therefore able to recognize and offer help to these women.
|State||Published - Oct 2006|