WHEREAS, domestic violence is increasingly recognized as a major public health concern in the United States; and,
WHEREAS, healthcare providers have a unique opportunity and responsibility to intervene in cases of domestic violence because they are often the first and sometimes the only professionals to whom an abused person will turn for help; and,
WHEREAS, screening and responses to domestic violence differ from traditional responses to violence; and,
WHEREAS, since January 1992, the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations has required that all accredited hospitals implement policies and procedures in their emergency departments and ambulatory care facilities for identifying, treating and referring victims of abuse, as well as domestic violence educational programs for hospital staff; and,
WHEREAS, California State law requires that all licensed clinics adopt written policies and procedures to screen patients to detect partner abuse; and,
WHEREAS, training for healthcare providers and educators has proven to be very effective in improving the quality of care given to domestic violence patients; and,
WHEREAS, the Health Care Subcommittee of San Francisco's Family Violence Council has developed a San Francisco Domestic Violence Protocol for use in all healthcare settings in San Francisco to provide guidelines for healthcare professionals for responding to domestic violence, to improve the quality of care given in San Francisco to domestic violence patients and to assist health care professionals to comply with existing laws and standards; and,
WHEREAS, the San Francisco Domestic Violence Protocol outlines the elements of an effective response and has been developed by an interdisciplinary committee of healthcare and domestic violence professionals, including physicians, nurses, medical social workers, administrators, health educators and domestic violence prevention advocates; and,
WHEREAS, the model for the San Francisco Domestic Violence Protocol has been pilot-tested by twelve hospitals throughout the country, including the Emergency Department-San Francisco General Hospital, ten health centers and clinics administered by the Department of Public Health and the Community Clinic Consortium and the Family Violence Prevention Fund and has proven effective in improving healthcare responses to battered patients; and,
WHEREAS, the San Francisco Domestic Violence Protocol includes routine screening of all women and adolescent girls for past and current abuse, the training of health care personnel and the availability of training materials; and,
WHEREAS, the San Francisco Police Department, the San Francisco Domestic Violence Consortium and the San Francisco Medical Society have reviewed and provided input on the San Francisco Domestic Violence Protocol; now, therefore, be it
RESOLVED, that the Health Commission of the City and County of San Francisco hereby endorses the policy of routine domestic violence screening of women and girls in all health care settings, both public and private; and, be it
FURTHER RESOLVED, that the Health Commission directs the Department of Public Health to develop, adopt and implement protocols for routine domestic violence screening; and, be it
FURTHER RESOLVED, that the Health Commission urges other public and private providers to adopt routine domestic violence screening protocols, such as those contained in the San Francisco Domestic Violence Protocol promulgated by the Family Violence Council.
I hereby certify that the foregoing resolution was adopted by the Health Commission at its meeting of Tuesday, February 18 , 1997.
Sandy Ouye Mori Executive Secretary to the Health Commission