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Palestinians, Israelis, and Americans Collaborate on Domestic Violence Problem
11-Sep-2007
As part of a long-term collaborative venture among the Hadassah Medical Center, Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, Massachusetts (USA), and the Palestinian Authority, Hadassah hosted a workshop to discuss the thorny issue of domestic violence.

Participating in the workshop were physicians from across Israel, the Palestinian Authority, and the United States. The collaboration, entitled “Peace Through Health: Partnership in Emergency Medicine,” began a number of years ago, and has successfully been fostering professional and personal relationships among healthcare workers of diverse national and religious backgrounds. In September 2005, the trilateral program was featured at the United Nations in a forum for nongovernmental organizations (see Hadassah International eBulletin, September 2005.)

Emergency room physicians at Hadassah have noted that there has been an increasing number of women who are victims of domestic violence but are afraid to make official complaints against their spouses. Instead, they arrive at the emergency room with the hope that the physicians on duty will "find out on their own" that they are suffering from abuse.

In order to deal with the growing phenomenon of domestic violence, Hadassah has recently taken the unprecedented step to ask women patients, as part of the admission process to the emergency room, whether they are victims of domestic violence. When the women were asked during a preliminary survey whether they found the question to be an affront to women, 80 percent said no; rather, they felt the questioning could only help.

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