A federally funded health project has shown measurable success in helping Native American victims of domestic and sexual violence, raising the rate of women screened for abuse from 4% to 48%, according to a recently released report on the project.
Building Domestic Violence Health Care Responses in Indian Country: A Promising Practices Report, produced by the Family Violence Prevention Fund, details the progress of the initiative, which the fund developed in partnership with faculty from Sacred Circle and Mending the Sacred Hoop Technical Assistance Project.
The project began in 2002 and engaged more than 100 American Indian, tribal and urban healthcare facilities across the country as well as advocacy programs for domestic-violence victims to improve the health system response to domestic violence.
Over the course of the project, annual assessments for intimate partner and domestic violence of Native American women increased twelvefold. The effort "offered an effective response to violence, identified best practices to raise awareness, improved clinical responses, and strengthened community partnerships to help victims of domestic and sexual violence,” according to the project report.
In addition to training staff members from American Indian and tribal healthcare facilities on domestic violence health system change, the program coordinated communitywide domestic-violence response teams that included staff from healthcare, judicial, law enforcement, community programs and tribal councils. It also developed patient education materials specific to domestic violence and used electronic health records to integrate domestic violence routine assessment and implementation of screening reminders.
Funding for the project was provided by several HHS agencies, the Administration for Children & Families and the Indian Health Service.