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The Role and Education of Dental Care Professionals in Identifying Domestic Violence: Report of an Audience Participation Exercise and Round Table Discussion

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)219-226
Number of pages8
JournalTechnology, Knowledge and Learning
Issue number2
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 2 Dec 2016

King's Authors


Domestic violence (DV) is a major public problem affecting 30% of women over 16. Three quarters of victims have violence to the head and neck, and therefore the role of the dentist is paramount in DV identification. Only one-third of dental schools in the UK include DV in their curricula and there is a need to introduce effective education for the whole profession. This study reported the results of an anonymous questionnaire delivered to an international senior academic and professional audience and a subsequent roundtable discussion of experts who considered issues and education surrounding DV. A 10 question survey was administered to an international audience from 14 countries with specific interests in education. It followed an introductory lecture on DV, and gathered on-the-spot feedback of the audience’s perceptions of the problem of DV and dental education. The results were collated and used to inform the expert roundtable group that aimed to discuss professional responsibility, dental education and training in DV, and potential further work. Fifty-seven questionnaires were returned from participants spanning 14 countries, though comparing the views of different groups in the survey was not possible, as this was anonymous and voluntary feedback. Only 42% of the audience considered that DV was sufficiently covered by the dental curriculum with a lack of certainty over professional responsibility. The roundtable group of 11 senior academics and professionals from five countries felt that dental professionals were well place to intervene in DV and have a responsibility to do so. They could potentially break the cycle of events. Embedding key knowledge in undergraduate curricula and continuing professional development training was considered essential to create a safe environment for screening and referral. A well-designed online course was perceived as an effective way of delivering such training. DV is a widespread and serious problem that can be identified by dental professionals. However, there are gaps in training that need to be addressed, and could facilitated by a well-designed online course.

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