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Year : 2019  |  Volume : 17  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 8-13

Shutting our eyes to an open secret: Knowledge, attitude, and behavior of dentists regarding domestic violence in India

Department of Public Health Dentistry, Asan Memorial Dental College and Hospital, Chengalpattu, Tamil Nadu, India

Correspondence Address:
Dr. Zoha Abdullah
Department of Public Health Dentistry, Asan Memorial Dental College and Hospital, Asan Nagar, Keerapakkam, Oragadam Main Road, Chengalpattu, Tamil Nadu
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/jiaphd.jiaphd_66_18

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Background: The majority of victims of domestic violence sustain maxillofacial injuries. Dental professionals can play a vital role in preventing violence against women, helping identify abuse early, providing victims with the necessary treatment, and referring women to appropriate care. Aim: The aim of this study was to assess the level of knowledge, attitude, and behavior regarding domestic violence among dental health practitioners in India. Materials and Methods: The authors surveyed a random sample of 106 dental health practitioners using a pretested, structured, and validated questionnaire to evaluate their knowledge, attitude, and behavior regarding domestic violence. Survey items were developed based on the domestic violence and health-care literatures. Collected data were subjected to statistical analysis using Chi-square test, and P < 0.05 was considered statistically significant. Results: Sixty-four percent of the responding dentists believed that it is not their responsibility to screen patients for abuse; 7.5% never screened for abuse, even when signs of abuse were present; and 34.9% did not have enough time in their practice to raise the issue of domestic violence. The majority of respondents believed that domestic abuse should be a private matter and asking about abuse is an invasion of privacy. Female respondents' attitude toward domestic violence was more positive when compared to the males. Conclusion: The level of knowledge regarding domestic violence among the respondents was insufficient. The findings of this study strongly recommend that this issue be included in the undergraduate dental education curriculum to improve the health care and assistance provided to the victims of abuse.

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