Are Women More Apt to Report Abuse Via Technology?
A new government study will investigate if pregnant women are more likely to admit to a computer, rather than a person, that they are victims of domestic violence. And if they are, could a tablet computer be a better route to encourage abused women to get help in a safer, more expeditious manner?
Researches from nursing schools at the University of Virginia and Johns Hopkins University said their primary goal is to identify pregnant abused women and help them move toward a better, sounder, safer future — for themselves and their children.
Drs. Linda Bullock and Phyllis W. Sharps, both professors of nursing, said that research has long shown that women who suffer abuse prior to pregnancy are likelier to be abused during pregnancy, and those abused during pregnancy have a higher risk of abuse in the early weeks after the baby is born.
“If you don’t address the violence, you’re not going to have positive pregnancy outcomes for babies and their moms,” said Bullock. “You’re leaving the elephant in the room.”
Part of the issue, she said, is that those doing the asking — who are part of state and federal programs that offer women at high risk for poor pregnancy outcomes access to at-home health care visits — have widely varied skills. Abused women may not feel comfortable enough to confess their situation.
Moreover, the discomfort extends to the nurses asking the questions — a factor that may influence getting an honest answer from the victim.