Early Detection and Prevention of Domestic Violence Using the Women Abuse Screening Tool (WAST) in Primary Health Care Clinics in Malaysia
Wong, Yut Lin, and Sajaratulnisah Othman, (2008) Early Detection and Prevention of Domestic Violence Using the Women Abuse Screening Tool (WAST) in Primary Health Care Clinics in Malaysia. Asia Pacific Journal of Public Health, 20 (2). pp. 102-116. ISSN 1-800-818-7243
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Official URL: http://aph.sagepub.com/cgi/content/abstract/20/2/102
University of Malaya. Faculty of Medicine. Health Research Development Unit
University of Malaya. Faculty of Medicine. Primary Care Medicine
Despite being an emergent major public health problem, little research has been done on domestic violence from the perspectives of early detection and prevention. Thus, this cross-sectional study was conducted to identify domestic violence among female adult patients attending health centers at the primary care level and to determine the relationship between social correlates of adult patients and domestic violence screening and subsequent help/health-seeking behavior if abused. Face-to-face interviews were conducted with 710 female adult patients from 8 health centers in Selangor who matched the inclusion criteria and consented to participate in the study, using a structured questionnaire that included adaptation of a validated 8-item Women Abuse Screening Tool (WAST). Statistical tests showed significant differences in ethnicity, income, and education between those screened positive and those screened negative for domestic violence. Of the participants, 92.4% reported that during consultations, doctors had never asked them whether they were abused by their husband/partner. Yet, 67.3% said they would voluntarily tell the doctor if they were abused by their husband/partner. The findings indicate that primary care has an important role in identifying domestic violence by applying the WAST screening tool, or an appropriate adaptation, with women patients during routine visits to the various health centers. Such assessment for abuse could be secondary prevention for the abused women, but more important, it will serve as primary prevention for nonabused women. This approach not only will complement the existing 1-stop crisis center policy by the Ministry of Health that copes with crisis intervention but also will spearhead efforts toward prevention of domestic violence in Malaysia.
|Additional Information:||This research project was supported by a grant from the Center for Economic Development and Ethnic Relations (CEDER), University of Malaya; the research findings were first presented at the CEDER Research Seminar per grant terms of reference. We wish to acknowledge and express our sincere gratitude to all the respondents who were outpatients from the selected primary health centers for agreeing to participate in the study. In addition, we extend our deepest appreciation to the director of the Division of Public Health Development at the Family Health Department, Ministry of Health Malaysia, as well as all the family medicine specialists, medical officers, medical assistants, and nurses at the respective selected 8 primary health centers who provided assistance in various forms, without which this project would not have been successfully completed. To Fazilah Omar, our research assistant, we thank her for her patience, diligence, and efficiency.|
|Keywords:||Domestic violence, primary health care,WAST (Women Abuse Screening Tool). Abuse women|
|Subjects:||R Medicine, Dentistry, Pharmacy, Nursing|
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