•This article has been double-blind peer reviewed
Nurses need to use every interaction with patients to detect domestic violence and abuse, which is widespread and has major health implications
Nursing Times; online issue 12, 1-4.
Domestic violence and abuse (DVA) is widespread and has serious, long-term negative effects on health and wellbeing. These vary depending on the nature of the abuse, but usually encompass anxiety and depression. Each interaction with patients is an opportunity to assess for DVA, and it is vital that nurses know how to do this competently. This article discusses why DVA is such a significant health issue, explores health assessment and safety planning in relation to DVA, and suggests what nurses should do if a patient discloses a problem related to DVA.