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  • Cited by 2
  • Print publication year: 2006
  • Online publication date: August 2009

6 - Domestic violence and its impact on mood disorder in women: Implications for mental health workers


This chapter defines domestic violence and its mental health outcomes. It highlights the barriers that might prevent health professionals' adequate assessment of the problem, and suggests possible solutions. Domestic violence involves a pattern of abusive and controlling behaviour that tends to increase in severity and frequency over time and to continue beyond the ending of the relationship. Being a woman is the single most important risk factor for experiencing domestic violence. One of the times of highest risk for women experiencing domestic violence is during pregnancy. Providing the right environment can be an important incentive to disclosure of domestic violence: confidentiality, privacy, sensitive questioning, and a nonjudgmental attitude are required. Mental health-care professionals should develop formal partnerships with other agencies especially the voluntary sector and build strategies for intervention in consultation with women. Domestic violence affects at least 25% of women and has wide-reaching, longterm physical and mental health consequences.

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