Dentists trained to recognise the signs of domestic violence in their patients

February 13, 2018

Dentistry students at James Cook University are being trained to recognise and respond to signs of domestic violence in their patients through an Australian-first program.

The ‘domestic violence: recognise, respond, refer’ training program was created in 2015 when final-year students on clinical placements found themselves treating victims of domestic violence.

“The students felt really inadequately prepared to respond to some of the issues that were arising,” Dr Felicity Croker, a senior lecturer at James Cook University’s School of Dentistry, said.

“We brought these challenges in [to the classroom], took the time to unpack them, go through ways that we could actually manage these situations and talk about ways that they could approach this in the future so that they felt enabled to respond appropriately.

“We found that the students had the knowledge; what they didn’t have was the confidence or the skills to talk about domestic violence with their patients.”

As part of the training program, dentistry students are taught to sit eye-to-eye when talking to suspected victims of domestic violence.

Students learn to build a rapport with patients who may be at risk of domestic violence.

They are also taught to be mindful of their physical appearance when broaching the topic.

“We talk to them about not approaching someone with your glasses and mask on, and without sharp implements in your hand,” Dr Croker said.

“And ways to build a rapport to let a conversation be possible, manage their anxiety and those sorts of things.”

Originally Published by ABC News, continue reading here.

Add your Comment