for the professions included in this study to identify requirements related to family violence of any or all types (see Appendix A). The review indicates that, overall, few accreditation requirements related to family violence exist. The standards for medicine suggest that programs should (rather than must) assert the ramifications of family violence as a social problem. While social work requirements include no specific mention of family violence in its curriculum guidelines, it does allude to those who are at risk of victimization or are oppressed. Similarly, nursing, dentistry, psychology, and physician assistants do not specifically include family violence education as part of their accreditation process. Certain subspecialty areas do have education or training requirements in specific types of family violence. For example, the American Board of Obstetrics and Gynecology requires intimate partner violence training, and the American Board of Pediatrics requires training on child abuse and neglect.


Licensure is the process by which a state, usually through an examination, regulates the practice of a specific profession. This examination can be administered on a national level, medicine being the principal example, but more often is administered by the state issuing the license. This state-directed exam may be a combination of both a nationally developed test and questions specific to certain state laws and regulations, or it may be state generated, with some questions drawn from a national data bank. The exam content can reflect required and desirable areas of study.

While a comprehensive review of state licensing laws for each health profession was beyond the scope of this report, the committee reviewed national exams for content on family violence, with the understanding that these exams play different roles with regard to licensure within the professions. This review revealed that licensure exams from the National Board of Medical Examiners and the National Council on Boards of Nursing provide the most explicit reference to family violence content. The National Board of Medical Examiners issues a three-step United States Medical Licensing Exam, the third step of which may include some questions related to child abuse, elder abuse, and sexual abuse.4 The National Council on Boards of Nursing’s Nursing Certification Licensure Exam contains a psychosocial adaptation section (5-11 percent of the questions). The content includes child abuse and neglect, elder abuse and neglect, and sexual abuse, as well as behavioral interventions, chemical dependency, crisis intervention, and psychopathology. Other organizations also indicate content on family violence on their exams but do not explicitly delineate the breakdown of components.


For proprietary reasons, the National Board of Medical Examiners does not release the number or percentage of questions on family violence on the exam or a range of potential questions.

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