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Beginnings Guides Blog

If someone is hurting you, … who you gonna call?

In reviewing and updating the Beginnings Pregnancy Guide for its 8!
Edition, I was struck by how often the Guide advises readers to
“call your doctor”. In particular, I wrote in several places,
“If someone is hurting you, call your doctor.” 
This presents a dilemma.
On one hand, that is the official guidance from ACOG and
other professional organizations – all pregnant women should receive
information about abuse and be advised to report it to their prenatal
care providers.  On the other hand, the physicians’ primary task is
diagnosis and treatment; there is little training and less time for dealing
with social problems.  And physicians are mandatory reporters, so receiving
a woman’s report of domestic violence sets in motion a series of tasks that
caring physicians are willing to take, but are nonetheless disruptive to practice,
time consuming and uncompensated.  Also on the other hand, ACOG’s published
information on violence and abuse conflicts with significant evidence 
published 11 years ago and confirmed 8 years ago, so I felt compelled
to delete the sentence that said “your doctor knows what to do” about abuse. 
Perhaps it is unreasonable to make prenatal care providers the “go-to guys” for
violence and abuse, and surely it is unreasonable to expect a woman to call a busy
near-stranger to tell-all about that which is too awful to mention. 
We need an alternative. 
We are surveying you, Readers, for your views from the field.
I’ll value your thoughts.  Take the 2 min. survey now.
National Domestic Violence Hotline
Meanwhile, I am happy to recommend the
National Domestic Violence Hotline 1-800-799-7233 Hearing Impaired: 1-800-787-3224.
The hotline gets over 23,500 calls per month. All are anonymous and confidential. Interpreters
are available for 170 languages. Services include crisis intervention, safety planning and
referrals to local service providers.  Assistance also is available through email.
The Hotline conducts an annual survey and produces a sort
of one-day-in-the-life-of -the -Hotline report. In my state, WA, on Sept 15, 2010, advocates
took 760 calls and served 1896 victims. They were unable to meet 862 requests, mostly for
emergency shelter due to lack of funding. 81% of WA programs reported increased demand;
The Hotline website http://www.thehotline.org/  
is a resource to recommend to mothers/families with computers.
I like that it has a prominent red “escape button” on the home page.
An abused woman does not want to be discovered informing herself
about her options.   We’ve added the website to our Useful Links for
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