Women's College Research Institute

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Survey of medical trainees in Saudia Arabia leads to new curriculum on family violence

February 2014

Domestic violence
Campaign launched by the King Khalid Foundation to expose domestic violence.

According to a recent report from the World Health Organization, 30 per cent of women around the world will experience intimate partner violence (IPV) in their lifetime, with potentially serious consequences for the health and well-being of themselves and their families.

Front-line physicians have the opportunity to recognize and help abused victims, however they often do not receive the training to do so.

“Saudi Arabia has the potential to make a real difference in addressing IPV,” says Dr. Robin Mason, a scientist in the Violence and Health Research Program at Women’s College Research Institute. “The country has already implemented a national program to address child abuse, and there is potential to expand services to abused women; however, one of the main challenges is that doctors haven’t yet been taught how to respond to victims of IPV.”        

To help develop a curriculum on IPV for Saudi family medicine residents, Mason and Dr. Eman Zaher, a physician in Saudia Arabia, recently conducted a survey to assess the residents’ knowledge, attitudes and perceptions of IPV.

“We found that the residents didn’t perceive themselves as either knowledgeable or well-prepared to discuss the issue with patients,” says Mason. “The survey helped us understand residents’ needs, so that an appropriate curriculum can be developed to help them better manage IPV in practice. Dr. Zaher is now in the process of designing the curriculum.” 

The findings of the study were published in the Middle East Journal of Family Medicine.

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