Following this Introduction, Chapter 2 discusses definitions of the types of family violence addressed by health professional training, the magnitude of family violence in American society, and an estimate of the effects of family violence on health care professionals and the health care system. Chapter 3 describes current educational activities. In Chapter 4, the committee assesses forces that may affect health professional training. Evaluation data are the primary focus of Chapter 5, which identifies the methods used and what evaluation reveals. Chapter 6 moves from what is known about health professional education to what the evidence and expert opinion suggest it should be; the chapter includes a discussion of content issues, educational strategies, and techniques of behavior change. The concluding chapter provides the committee’s recommendations on training health professionals about family violence.
The content of this report reflects the committee’s fidelity to its explicit charge. Although we discussed a number of important and often controversial areas during our deliberations, those falling outside the scope of our charge do not appear in the report. Among these are the causes of family violence, the actual impact of training on the problem of family violence, the relationship between education and practice, the roles of health professionals in prevention, and the relationship of health professionals to their colleagues in law enforcement, social services, and broader community services systems. The committee also considered issues relating to the identification and treatment of batterers or perpetrators, distinctions between intentional and unintentional injuries as they relate to educational content, the impact of fragmented care on victims, and the overall meaning of health, but we did not explicitly address these issues in the report.
The breadth of these issues associated with family violence both underscores the committee’s firm view that health professional training alone cannot fix the problem of family violence and reinforces our position on the importance of health professional training on this issue. This report addresses these issues, suggesting directions for a comprehensive and collaborative approach necessary to understand and move toward resolution of the problem of family violence.