Violence and the Emergency Room.

Violence and the Emergency Room.

Many of these elders must be cared for in the home which puts them in harm’s way when violence occurs. The stress of caring for them at home and the lack of funds increases the chance of violence and or the use of alcohol. All of these things affect the emergency room on a daily basis and many times they are fueled by alcohol which makes the encounter that much more volatile. This paper will examine domestic violence fueled by alcohol and how it might affect the emergency room.

Intentional and unintentional violence and its effects take a toll on human health and the quality of life. Globally more than 5 million people die from injuries every year. violence kills more people than HIV/AIDS and malaria combined, yearly (World Health Organization, 2002). Every week in Wales and England, two women are killed by their current or former partner (Reeves & Sully, 2007) and many more are damaged for life. This is not an unusual statistic throughout the world at this time.

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This kind of violence in families has a very long history. It consists of a pattern of coercive control that is designed to isolate the victim (Davis, 2007). This all presents in major health issues in which the cost is high. Those in the violent situation and the communities in which they live have lost positive community participation and increased costs in healthcare.

Violence and the Emergency Room.
security guard and doctor restrain drunken man in accident and emergency

This type of violence usually manifests itself in physical, sexual, and or psychological abuse which involves fear, intimidation, and emotional depravation of not only the victim but those around them (Davis, 2007). It often engrains the victim in poverty that becomes difficult to climb out of. When fueled with alcohol, the violence can be much more sudden and heightened for the victims as well as the emergency room staff.

There are some social, political, and legal context in Australia that should be considered here. In the last decade of conservative Federal government in Australia, there has been an erosion of services to women living with domestic violence. There has been a concerted move toward the consolidation of family which may force a situation in which the perpetrator is in the victims life longer.

This has also caused the dismantling of policies and services that are available, including such things as child care subsidies, youth training schemes, youth allowances, legal aid, supported accommodation schemes, and movement to negotiated settlements. All of this affects programs that support women and children in trouble (Wright & Waugh, 2007). This makes it more difficult to get these women and children to safety and keep them there.

Violence and the Emergency Room.
Policeman and man with handcuffs in hospital

When violence occurs the victims often come to the emergency room and many of them have never seen a primary physician so the violent episode may just be the tip of what is wrong with them. There is a often a revolving door situation in which the same victims come back with injuries on a regular basis. They may also keep coming back with complaints of things like headaches and stomach pain in an attempt at safety.

Studies show that this may be the only safe place in which these victims can disclose or plan for escape. These same studies show that a woman’s decision to expose abuse can depend on the attitude of the clinician that is caring for her as a victim (Janssen & Holt, 2002) and that nurses attitude may be the victims only hope for escape.

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