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Sarah Layton

By: Sarah Layton on April 5th, 2016

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Review of Domestic Violence Curriculum: What Is It?

Health Science

Do you have domestic violence curriculum in your health science courses? Some states are already requiring this content, which means that other states are probably not far behind. So it's critical that you include this content. But how do you approach this uncomfortable topic and make sure you prepare your students to address potential domestic violence situations with patients?

The best plan is to find a curriculum resource that has already done the research and the approach for you. AES recently released one such resource in HealthCenter21. We've taken our expertise in instructional design and applied it to this topic. We'll review that Domestic Violence curriculum here.

Why Is Domestic Violence Curriculum Important?

Before we get into the details of the domestic violence curriculum, let's focus a little more on why this content was an important piece to add to the library of content that teachers are using. I had the opportunity to interview one of our instructional designers, Celestial Holmes, who was responsible for designing this curriculum. When I asked about its importance, Celestial explained,

"We actually had some teachers who in their states it was a requirement to have a two hour course on domestic violence, which is also considered part of continuing education programs. We saw that teachers were struggling with finding appropriate material to bring to their students to help them meet that requirement. We created the module to help teachers, and ultimately to help students, with their requirement for the two hour domestic violence course."

Beyond the actual requirement in some states to cover it, domestic violence curriculum is really important for students entering the health care field. As Celestial explains:

"Healthcare professionals, at some point, will encounter victims of domestic violence. This module will prepare learners to handle these encounters with accuracy and professionalism."

So even if you aren't required to cover this content, it is clear that it's an important part of health care education that everyone should be providing their students.

What Does Domestic Violence Curriculum Cover?

So what's in the domestic violence curriculum? Quite a lot, according to Celestial!

"We will actually talk about what domestic violence is. We give them definitions and examples of the types of behaviors they would see in a domestic violence situation. In addition students will learn what specific groups are at higher risk for domestic violence and they will also learn how to kind of identify situations where domestic violence is probably occurring, proper recording and documentation techniques, and how to help clients or patients that are having issues with domestic violence."

But that's not all. In addition to learning about domestic violence and how to help patients, students will also get a bit of practice.

"They'll get to actually go through some scenarios in this module. They'll get to evaluate documentation for its accuracy... There is a classroom activity that students can do and it's up to the teacher's discernment how they execute this activity, but the purpose of the activity is to help students find out what's available in their area for domestic violence victims.

So we have them look for resources in the area, try to find out what is it I would refer a patient to should I discover domestic violence? That's just really to kind of help them understand also what the laws are in their state or area in regards to reporting domestic violence. It's very important information that they should have if they're going to be working in the healthcare field where they live."

For the full interview, take a look here:



What's in the HealthCenter21 Domestic Violence Module?

Here's what students will learn in the new Domestic Violence module.

The module is made up of one unit called "Domestic Violence and the Health Care Provider." In this unit, students will define domestic violence, identify those at risk for domestic violence, recognize behaviors associated with domestic violence, and identify proper documentation. In addition, teachers have the option of using the classroom activity, which allows students to explore domestic violence resources available in their communities.

More specifically, in Lesson 1 – Introduction to Domestic Violence, students will define domestic violence, identify the characteristics of victimization, and determine the importance of health care professionals in caring for domestic violence victims.

In Lesson 2 – Who’s at Risk, students determine who’s at risk for domestic violence and also explore how specific groups are affected by domestic violence.

In Lesson 3 – Screening and Assessment, students learn about screening and assessing patients over the age of 16 for domestic violence and how to question patients privately. Students also learn how to counsel patients on available support networks if domestic violence is confirmed.

Finally, in Lesson 4 – Documentation, students learn the methods for documenting a patient’s file, identify what should be included in documentation, and determine whether or not documentation is correct.

There you go...discussing domestic violence with your health science students isn't high on anyone's list of comfortable things to do. But you can find some very good domestic violence curriculum resources out there to help you present this topic with confidence and sensitivity.

To try the domestic violence lesson described above, sign up for a free trial of HealthCenter21:

Get a Health Science Curriculum Trial


About Sarah Layton

Sarah has been with AES since 1998, first serving as a curriculum developer, and now as a customer support analyst and content creator. She is committed to helping instructors gain experience and confidence using our solutions and to providing excellent customer care.