Pakistani obstetricians' recognition of and attitude towards domestic violence screening

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Article (peer-reviewed)

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Objective: Our study assesses Pakistani obstetricians knowledge of the prevalence of domestic violence in clinical practice and attitudes towards instituting screening protocols during routine antenatal care. Methods: One hundred obstetricians, all Karachi residents, were randomly drawn from a stratified sampling list taken from membership lists. A structured questionnaire assessing prevalence, attitudes, and beliefs on training and domestic violence screening protocols was administered. Results: Nearly 70% of obstetricians reported that more than 30% of Pakistani women are victims of domestic abuse. Sixty-two obstetricians specified that they had identified a physically abused woman within the past year. Almost half of the respondents were favorably inclined to screen patients. Professional, personal and patient-related barriers were identified as the main hurdles preventing instituting screening. Conclusions: The desire for instituting routine screening despite the recognition of major hurdles by Pakistani obstetricians should propel reproductive health stakeholders to raise awareness about appropriately modifying standard antenatal care protocols.