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Barriers, Domestic violence, Reporting



  1. Smith, Jackie S. DHSc, ARNP
  2. Rainey, Susan L. DHSc, ARNP
  3. Smith, Kirk R. DHSc, ARNP
  4. Alamares, Chona RN
  5. Grogg, Denise RN


Introduction: Domestic violence is a nationwide public health issue. It affects people from all walks of life and every age group. Domestic violence is on the rise in Hillsborough County, Florida, up by 2.5% from 2004 to 2005. The Governor's Domestic Violence Task Force suggests that domestic violence is seriously underreported. Nursing assessments routinely require screening for domestic violence, placing nurses in a unique position to screen and report because they are often the first contacts of victims. The purpose of this study was to discover barriers nurses face in relation to mandatory reporting of domestic violence.


Methods: This nonexperimental study comprised a quantitative survey sent to 1,000 nurses in Hillsborough County, Florida, chosen at random from a database available to the public.


Results: Sixteen variables were provided for participants to select in identifying barriers that prevented them from reporting domestic violence. Forty-nine nurses (27%) responded that they suspected but did not report domestic violence, citing "not enough evidence" as the most frequent barrier selected (32.1%).


Conclusion: Nurses who have personally experienced domestic violence are more likely to report. Reporting laws are intended as guidelines for nurses. An effort should be made to have universal definitions and terms across the United States.