Child Abuse DV/IPV Elder Abuse/Neglect

Best Practice Guidelines for Child Abuse, Elder Abuse, and Intimate Partner Violence (& a Short Rant)

I meant to post this a couple of weeks ago when it showed up in my inbox and then it got buried, so I am a bit late in getting this up. The American College of Surgeons recently published its Trauma Quality Improvement Program Best Practice Guidelines for Child Abuse, Elder Abuse, and Intimate Partner Violence. This is a pretty rich resource for all of you hospital-based folks out there (and there’s some helpful information for those of you in the community, as well). It’s a chewy document (more than 120 pages), so there’s a lot to work through, but it’s certainly worth your time. Screening tools, assessment recommendations, coding resources–it’s all in there.

And not for nothing, but related to a significant pet-peeve of mine: this is what we’re talking about when we’re talking about best practices. Guidelines created from evidence-based literature when available and consensus of a professional clinical/scientific group when evidence is unavailable. Frequently (read: at trial) people like to sling the term best practices around with no weight behind it. Best practices are not oral traditions passed down from clinician to clinician. Best practices are written documents, published and available to the profession. If you tell me (or testify) that something is a best practice, please be prepared to identify where that best practice can be found. Because if it’s not published somewhere, it’s not a best practice–it’s just your practice.

Thank you for coming to my TED talk.


Have you checked out the FHO store lately? You can find the newest research brief, Applying The Strangulation Research To Expert Testimony In Cases With Adult Victims. Or purchase the complete set of three (Strangulation, Aging Bruises, and Consensual Sex Injury) for a special price.

10 replies on “Best Practice Guidelines for Child Abuse, Elder Abuse, and Intimate Partner Violence (& a Short Rant)”

Glad you put this out there! My trauma program coordinator brought it to my attention and we are utilizing it to move forward to improve our program at our hospital. I’m also hoping that it helps me get an APRN hired to help our increasingly busy program! I appreciate all your work on this site!

I was dumb enough to wander into a DNP program-Seemed like a good idea at the time. The TED was helpful. May I borrow your rant if I use proper APA credit? I found a lot of MSU (Make stud up) listening to EVP folks.

YES! Whenever anyone claims something is “best practice” I remind them that the words EVIDENCE-BASED go in front of that phrase. Then I ask, “So what is the research that established the ‘best practice’ you mentioned?”

Great resource, Jenifer. Thank you for this! And thank you for all you do for our profession and medical forensic care of patients.

Thank you so much for this document…and for a great presentation in Flagstaff. My apologies if this has been asked and answered already. Could you please direct me to any research findings with discussions related to imaging pediatric and adolescent patient with histories of strangulation. I have the “Applying Strangulation Research to Expert Testimony in Cases with Adult Victims” which is excellent. Thanks for your help.

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