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Clinicians had an influence on women's decisions to disclose abuse

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 Questions What experiences do abused women have in the healthcare system? What are abused women's perceptions of the characteristics of the healthcare system that discourage or facilitate disclosure of abuse? What are abused women's perceptions of interventions that may improve detection and management of abuse in primary care?

Design

Focus groups.

Setting

3 community based mental health centres and a women's shelter in Baltimore, Maryland, USA.

Participants

21 women (62% African-American; 81% single, separated, or divorced) who were ≥18 years of age, spoke English, and were in group therapy for domestic violence. Annual family income ranged from <$15 000 (43%) to >$30 000 (28%). 5 women lived in a women's shelter for domestic violence.

Methods

Women participated in 1 of four 90 minute focus group sessions. The 3 main questions were about good or bad experiences when discussing violence with a healthcare professional, the ease with which women could discuss violence with a healthcare professional, and information that doctors should know when treating abused women. Each focus group …

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