New Government Proposal Wants To Screen Women For Domestic Violence – Here’s Why It’ll Never Work
11:30 am, June 14th | by Diana Gerstacker
Hey there, devil’s advocate here to tell you about the new proposal from our friends over at the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force. The newly released, drafted proposal aims to subject women to routine questions about possible intimate partner violence – and it misses the mark.
The government-appointed panel of experts released its recommendation yesterday stating, “all women of child-bearing age could benefit from routine screenings for intimate partner violence.” Sounds good, right? Hold up, lets take a closer look.
First, I’d like to point out that lumping ‘all women’ together is a rocky start to any statement – just ask men. Next, child-bearing age begins at what, like 13? Routine screenings of 13-year-olds seem pretty intrusive and invasive. And what are these ‘routine screenings’ they speak of?
The specifics on the “number of available tests” are unclear according to most reports, but the proposal gives a brief list and explanation. The top tests consist of questions, either clinician or self-administered. The questions aren’t listed but I can’t imagine how a self-administered test would be even remotely effective.
I can’t help but think that the “three or four” questions asked by a doctor at a check-up wouldn’t unveil a secret of domestic abuse if the woman didn’t want to discuss it in the first place. And my first thought reading the proposal was “what a stinky whopping pile of privacy violation.” (And please tell me I’m not the only one that considered it.) It would seem that these questions are both invasive and ineffective.
Now, of course there are benefits to preemptive domestic violence screening (if by some miracle it worked properly). Intimate partner violence goes unreported at an alarming rate. Preventing partner violence is important; I’m just not convinced this system will be effective at doing that or even getting close.
Image of doctor with clipboard via Shutterstock.