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Knowledge of primary care nurses regarding domestic violence

NN Alsafy
MI Kamel


Introduction: Domestic violence (DV) against women has been identified as a serious public health problem. Primary care nurses usually play an important role in managing battered women. They must be equipped with the necessary knowledge, training and experience.
Objective: The aim of this work was to study the knowledge and  perception of primary care nurses about DV.
Methods: This study was carried out in all primary health care centers in Kuwait. All nurses who were currently working in these centers during the study period were asked to complete a selfadministered close-ended questionnaire that included personal and working conditions information.
It included also knowledge about prevalence of DV, and four main aspects relevant to DV, namely deprivation, psychological, physical and sexual domains. A 5-point, Likert-scale was used to assess participant’s answers for each item. For each participant, the scores were summed and categorized into high and low considering the median as the cutoff level.
Results: Out of 1617 nurses currently working in primary care, 988 returned the filled questionnaire with a response rate of 61.1%. The study revealed that nurses’ knowledge about the prevalence of DV were poor. A large group of nurses had negative perception to DV particularly regarding deprivation aspect. Nearly all nurses agreed about statements of physical and sexual domains. Psychological items scores came in between  deprivation in one side and physical and sexual aspects in the other side. After adjustment for confounding, only female gender remained as a significant factor associated with high knowledge and perception scores. About a third of the participating nurses received their knowledge and instructions about DV from scientific formal sources as medical
schools, training courses and conferences. The majority of them indicated that they were willing to receive training or guidelines instructions in the different topics for management of DV in the future.
Conclusion: Overall, primary care nurses had poor knowledge regarding DV. Although female nurses are somewhat more knowledgeable about DV, many more educational activities are needed.