A review of health professional organization statements, guidelines, positions, and policies reveals that the degree to which the various professions call for training differs greatly not only by profession but also by specialties within those professions.
Health professional organizations can influence the existence and extent of family violence education within a profession.
The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, the American Academy of Pediatrics, and the American College of Nurse Midwives are excellent examples of health professional organizations actively working to encourage and implement education initiatives on family violence among members of their professions.
Stakeholder groups, including advocates, victims, and payers, have been or are becoming active in family violence issues, including education, but their impact on family violence education for health professionals is difficult to assess.
No studies indicate the impact these efforts have had. However, curricula developed by organizations such as the Family Violence Prevention Fund appear to have been widely disseminated and in use by health professional educators.
The impact of mandatory reporting laws on family violence for health professionals is unclear, but the existence of such laws suggests a need for educational content about them.
Based on the expressed concerns and research on rates of reporting, the committee sees a need for clear explanations of reporting laws for students and practitioners, as well as the provision of opportunities to discuss and resolve ethical issues that reporting raises for many health care providers. Additional studies are needed to determine whether reporting requirements are the appropriate mechanism for achieving the goals of increasing reporting rates and ensuring the necessary services for victims. Regardless of the existence of legal requirements, in the committee’s view, students must learn to identify, report, and refer cases according to legal requirements, professional practice standards, and patient care goals. In addition, the training needs of health professionals extend beyond fulfilling legal requirements. The committee understands the intent underlying reporting requirements for health professionals generally to be the enhancement of their responses to family violence and ensuring that victims receive needed treatment and services. These goals suggest that health professionals need to know more than just how to report suspected and actual cases of family violence. Given the concerns about mandatory reporting cited by both health professionals and vic-