Some 86 percent of the nation’s hospitals and clinics lack measures for dealing with victims of domestic violence, according to the National Center of Neurology and Psychiatry.
A team from the center’s National Institute of Mental Health conducted a survey on domestic violence in January and February, eliciting responses from 626 hospitals and clinics.
According to the results, 10 percent of the institutions were unaware that the domestic violence law was put into force in October.
The survey, led by Yoshiharu Kin, head of the institute’s department on adult mental health, underscores the medical profession’s low level of interest in domestic violence.
Thirty percent of the responding hospitals and clinics had dealt with victims of domestic violence during the past year, with 65 percent of that group saying they at least knew of or were familiar with the domestic violence law.
Some 77 percent of the respondents had not briefed their doctors, nurses or other personnel on the domestic violence law, 78 percent had not discussed measures to deal with victims of domestic violence, and 90 percent said they had not compiled materials on measures to deal with such victims.
The law requires the national government and local authorities to prevent domestic violence and protect its victims. It enables district courts to impose six-month restraining orders on perpetrators and to force them to vacate their homes for two weeks.
Under the law, doctors and medical personnel are urged to notify the police and consultation centers at prefectural governments when they find a victim of suspected domestic violence. They are also exempt from the confidentiality requirement when making such notifications.
However, 40 percent of the hospitals and clinics said they did not know they would be exempt from the obligation for confidentiality, while 31 percent said they did not know they are requested to give victims information regarding consultation centers, according to the survey.
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