The signs of domestic violence

  • Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner Janet Carroll speaks with hospital employees and first responders Wednesday at Monadnock Community Hospital in Peterborough. Staff photo by Ashley SaarI

Monadnock Ledger-Transcript
Published: 11/7/2016 5:05:17 PM

“I don’t know how many times I’ve heard, ‘It doesn’t happen here,” said Janet Carroll. “It does happen here. You drive by it every day.”

Carroll is a Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner, specially trained in the medical and forensic care of the patient who has experienced sexual assault or abuse. Carroll spoke to a room of hospital employees and first responders during a seminar on abuse and human trafficking at Monadnock Community Hospital on Wednesday evening about how to recognize the signs of abuse and how to address it.

It’s important to recognize the prevalence of abuse, said Carroll. One in four women, two in three children, one in five teens and one in five college aged women are sufferers of some form of abuse or sexual assault. In New Hampshire, 33.4 percent of women and 24 percent of men say they have experienced physical violence in a relationship.

Because of that, for health care workers, it is important to screen patients that come in for other issues – and not just once, but every time you see them.

For first responders, the line seems blurrier, said Greenfield Fire Chief David Hall, who suggested that a regional in-service training in how to assess potential victims of domestic violence or sexual assault would be useful for ambulance and fire personnel. And if there is an identified problem, it’s important to have resources available.

Monadnock Community Hospital already has some of those resources available – they employ several Sexual Assault Nurse Examiners, and rely on resources from the Monadnock Center for Violence Prevention when abuse is identified or suspected. The Monadnock Center is based in Keene, but has an office in Peterborough open on Mondays.

Shanna Beckwith, assistant director at the Center, said their role it to offer information and support, including offering emergency shelter, which is their current greatest unmet need.

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