With six simple, yet weighty words – “Do you feel safe at home?” – St. Michael’s Hospital in downtown Toronto has taken a pro-active approach to helping victims of domestic abuse. The hope is that by asking all women who come to the emergency department the question, patients will be more forthcoming.
About 12 per cent of all police-reported violent crimes in Canada are incidents of spousal violence, and the majority of victims are women, according to Statistics Canada data from 2007, the most recent year available. That number could potentially be higher, as many victims are afraid to come forward. Hospitals say abuse is more prevalent at this time of the year because of the stresses that come with the holidays.
“If you don’t ask someone, you’ll never know,” said Aynsley Young, a nurse at St. Michael’s who initiated the program earlier this year. “Screening is in itself a very important intervention and it’s the first step to providing help to somebody who may be fearing for their lives or in a very dangerous situation.”
The success of the program so far can be measured in a variety of ways: 73 female patients of the 2,433 screened since the program began in June reported abuse, and despite their immediate reservations, emergency-room nurses have asked the question to half of all female patients in early December, up from 10 per cent six months ago.
The emergency room’s stories, though, make the success of the program even more apparent. One nurse tells of a woman who revealed abuse: “Before I left the room to get the MD for assessment, she hugged me again, and now smiling rather than weeping said, ‘I can’t thank you enough for helping me,’” the nurse wrote to Ms. Young. Another wrote: “I have had several women thank me for asking even though they answer ‘no’ to the question.”
Other hospitals in Toronto tend to ask questions about abuse only if a patient shows physical injuries. At least one expert wonders if the St. Michael’s approach of asking every woman whether she has visible injuries or not may be seen as too intrusive, or drive patients away.
Arthur Schafer, director of the University of Manitoba’s Centre for Professional and Applied Ethics, said data need to be kept on how patients feel about being asked the question, and on the number of women reporting abuse. Some patients, he said, may not feel comfortable coming to an emergency room if they feel they’re going to be questioned.
“I can’t answer the question if this is a good thing or not, and whether it should be adopted by every hospital in Ontario or in Canada, by every other emergency department, without knowing more. If they’re going to do it, they should do it properly,” Prof. Schafer said. “Good public policy requires that it be based on good evidence.”
St. Joseph’s Health Centre, also in Toronto, tried a similar initiative in its emergency department about a decade ago, but abandoned it, opting instead to hand women a card listing resources and phone numbers. Donna Hess, the patient-care manager in the emergency department, said there were problems trying to get nurses to ask the question on top of all the other assessment they had to complete. Some were uncomfortable asking about abuse. “And sometimes women would say, ‘Now, what is it about me that made you ask that?’ It kind of made women uncomfortable at times,” Ms. Hess said.
Experts who help abuse victims say that planting a seed, whether it’s through a question or a card, allows women to realize that there is help if they want it. Ms. Young said sometimes women have to be asked as many as eight or nine times before they report abuse. She noted that one study showed between 17 and 30 per cent of women treated in hospital emergency departments are victims of domestic violence.
At St. Mike’s, those who report abuse are directed toward counselling and other help, she said.
“If we live in fear of asking people, they may never get asked that question. As an emergency department, we wanted to make sure that we were letting clients know that St. Mike’s emergency is a safe place, and that they can return if they ever need help,” Ms. Young said.
Commentary by the Ottawa Mens Centre
Its this kind of public policy that promotes promotes hatred.
The posts here will fall into two camps, the roughly equal number of female and male victims of domestic abuse and those who are outraged by the promotion of hatred and the feminist camp whose entire industry is based upon false statistics and the promotion of hatred towards men.
The fact is, standard marriages are now a minority, being gay or lesbian is now suddenly more acceptable and its that Lesbian feminist group who adopt an Evangelical zealout's approach to grabbing what ever opportunity that presents itself to throw their knives.
Why, why are these radical feminists so bitter and so determined to leave a trail of destroyed lives not to mention marriages?
Firstly, they see conventional marriages as illegal in their minds. In their minds, they see every other woman as like them, generally a victim of child hood sexual abuse that often creates a deep seething hatred for men that sees them ending up being judges in the Ontario Superior Family Court leaving endless trails of destruction and injustice.
Take any police holding cell on any given night.
Odds are all the "prisoners" are male, not convicted, just arrested awaiting bail which can take at least 12 hours to days for a first charge or months if its a second charge.
If you visit any average police cell late at night it goes something like this.
At least half the men have visible injuries from an assault from a woman and say when they called the police about her assaulting him, HE was arrested.
He, can be one of the most respected members of the community, without any propensity for violence, he came home, sat down and she walks in after changing from a nice outfit into an old TShirt, punches him in the mouth and rips her own Tshirt, dials 911 and races to the neighbours to hide from the abuser.
That's a very typical example of how incredibly biased society has become as a result of extreme feminists "educational programs" that are pure promotion of hatred towards men".
At a government level, its enough to make you want to puke.
Provinces spend billions of dollars on support for ONLY female victims of domestic violence without addressing the fact that for every abused woman there is an abused male.
Government rather than spending billions on promoting hatred towards men and encouraging family destruction and dysfunction needs to bring about a Legal Presumption of Equal Parenting with serious consequences for false allegations.
That will shave 33 billion from the costs of operating Family Courts, free up police to deal with real criminals rather than promote the Real Crime that Starts in Family Court.
Official stats show that women instigate violence at home more than men.
Reported assaults are roughly equal. In jurisdictions with objective attitudes,
the number of men and women arrested for DV is roughly equal.
The problem is that women have far more incentives, windfall winnings, extreme revenge, from making false allegations and provoking a confrontation, in order to create an incident is all part of the game women play due to feminist education on how to terminate children's relationships with their father.
Its promotion of hatred towards men.
"do you fee safe in your home ?"
at least that's the official question,
Fact is, hospital staff are educated that every woman
(not every man) is a probable victim of domestic violence.
Mental illness affects women at least 5 times that of men.
Emergency wards are often where mentally ill women end up
and what's the best way of diverting staff's attention from their mental
It goes like this - How are things at home?
My husband is an arshole, and I'm trying get away from his abuse?
Is he assaulting you? no, he never hit me, its him, I hate him,
um, I hate his abuse? Is he with you tonight?
No, the local women's shelter told me to tell you that
I'm in danger at home, he might hit me, he gets upset easily and
gets very angry, I'm afraid of him.
The male partner in the waiting room asks to speak to the doctor
"Sorry, we can't talk to you, patient confidentiality".
Well, look, I need to explain to the doctor that she has been foaming at the mouth,
that she has been hearing angels talking to her telling her to drown the kids and she tells me
that her food tastes like its been poisoned.
That's a horrible allegation to make, and you can share that with your lawyer
but not here.
The hospital file is noted that she is in a troubled relationship and the local women's shelter
picked her up and took her to a 'safe place' where her kids were waiting for her.
It creates yet another statistic. The father who sought emergency help is forever condemned as an abuser. She goes to court, gets custody, a restraining order and her mental health problems remain closed in the home where the children without a father grow up predisposed to be yet another generation of abused dysfunctional children deprived of the love of a father.
This hospital mandate is not for any genuine purpose, its to create statistics, funding and to satisfy the demands of the Canadian Man Haters Association who are hell bent on their war on men, to further remove legal rights from men, to further enshrine a reverse onus upon men that they did not beat their wife.
The judiciary of Ontario, go to special classes, on how they must assume a reverse onus that men are violent abusers who should not have the kids.
For every abused woman there is generally more than one abused man, men don't report abuse, abuse of men is often non-violent, it can and frequently is more insidious and far more damaging than one or two black eyes that go away after a week or so.