Incidents of domestic violence are often a precursor to filing for divorce. However, domestic violence victims are often hesitant to come forward for a variety of reasons. That is why a professional group is encouraging dentists and hygienists to learn the signs of domestic abuse.
Why Are Dentists Suited to Spot Signs of Abuse?
Dental professionals are uniquely able to recognize domestic abuse. First, about 70 percent of domestic violence injuries are to the head and neck—areas dentists inspect. Second, dentists typically see patients twice a year, which is often more than other medical providers.
Signs of Domestic Violence Taught to Dentists
Domestic violence experts instruct dental professionals to look for the following signs:
Visible bruises or injuries;Missed appointments;Late to appointments;Spouse or partner who will not leave the patient’s side;Anxiety during cleaning and treatment; andStress when instruments are put in the mouth.
If dentists are suspicious that abuse may have occurred, they are instructed to ask the following questions:
Did anyone harm you or interfere with you getting medical care?Was this person in your family? Was it a partner?Do you care to tell me what led to this?
Survey Shows Domestic Abuse Victims Want Help from Dentists
A survey of abuse victims reported that more than half of respondents had a dental appointment when signs of abuse could be seen. Of this group, 90 percent were not asked about the injuries, yet a majority reported that they would have liked if the dentist had asked.
Domestic Violence Signs Are Increasingly Taught to Dentists
Maryland was the first state to require continuing education for dentists to include awareness about domestic violence. Tennessee, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Pennsylvania are considering similar measures.
In addition, some dental schools are adding domestic violence education to their curriculum.
Contact a San Jose Domestic Violence Lawyer
If you are a victim of domestic violence, a lawyer can help. A restraining order requires specific showings in order to be granted, and an attorney will give you the best chance at getting a restraining order approved by the court.
Restraining orders often lead to divorce proceedings, and your case will be handled most efficiently if an attorney is involved from the start.
Our firm also defends against domestic violence allegations in the family law context. Because domestic abuse accusations can greatly affect child custody, those accused should take these matters seriously.
To contact the experienced San Jose, CA domestic violence attorney at Dominion Law Group, LLP, call our office at 408-288-5592.