A national expert on what’s known as “intimate partner violence” will be speaking next week in Omaha.
Dr. Kathryn Laughon, a nursing professor at the University of Virginia, will address the role of nurses and the science in identifying intimate partner violence, which may include: threats of violence, acts of violence, sexual violence and emotional abuse.
Dr. Laughon offers some tips for family and friends of women who are in domestic violence situations.
“What we can do from the outside is let our friends and our sisters, our family members know that we care about them, that we’re worried about them, that we always will be there for them.”
Laughon is principal investigator of a National Institutes of Health-funded study to test an intervention for guardians of children orphaned by intimate partner homicide. She also is a forensic nurse examiner and provides care to victims of sexual assault.
There are certain signs for which she says we can all be watchful: “Gradual isolation, less contact with family and friends, not being able to go places easily, being worried about what their partner is going to say if they’re not back or if they don’t answer the phone,” she says. “Constant put downs are something that other people might see.”
Laughon says nurses are often in a key position to provide assistance to victims of this type of violence.
“It’s important for nurses to know how to assess women for violence and how to provide brief, supportive appropriate interventions for these women,” she says. “They may be the only professional the women come into contact with who can provide the support in a confidential, safe environment.”
Laughon will present her lecture for the community at the University of Nebraska Medical Center College of Nursing on Thursday, November 14th.
There’s a national domestic violence hotline: 800-799-SAFE.