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Tufts OpenCourseware
Author: Joanne Brewer, M.P.H.

1. General Information

A three hour, three part session addressing Intimate Partner Abuse in the Dental setting.

1.1. Part One (1 hour)

A self-disclosed survivor of abuse begins the lecture by sharing her personal story with the students, including her experiences with her dental provider. Personal accounts such as this have proven to be very effective in helping students to

  • put a human face on the concepts they are learning , and

  • understand the diverse ways that abuse affects victims across the lifespan and the many ways victims cope and heal

1.2. Part Two (1 hour)

Conducted by experts in the fields of domestic violence and public health, this PowerPoint presentation begins with a brief review of material covered in the 2nd year, including

  • definitions,

  • prevalence,

  • types and dynamics of abuse as well as the many general and oral heath issues that are associated with intimate partner abuse, and

  • why dental providers are in a perfect position to respond to this critical health and social issue.

The lecture then proceeds to give an overview of what types of services in addition to dental health care victims of abuse might benefit from. Providers then can make informed and appropriate referrals.

  • Students learn the specific steps that are recommended, and sometimes required, of health care providers in assessing and responding to abuse, with specific attention paid to how these steps can be incorporated into the dental encounter.

  • Students also learn simple techniques that can be incorporated into their clinical practice that minimize the chances of re-traumatizing patients for whom past abuse and fear have kept them from seeking dental care.

1.3. Part Three (1 hour)

Using interactive videos, case scenarios and role plays, students are presented with a variety of case presentations which

  • help to demonstrate the many ways that signs of abuse might be visible to a dental provider,

  • offer ways that providers can inquire about patients’ experiences of abuse,

  • suggest ways to respond to both disclosures and denials of abuse,

  • teach how to document abuse as part of the clinical assessment and treatment protocol,

  • learn how to recognize other health issues (oral and otherwise) that might be associated with the abuse, and

  • show how to make referrals and mandated reports appropriately and safely.

1.4. Recommended Reading

  • Chiodo GT, Tolle SW, Tilden VP. The dentist and family violence. Gen Dent. 1998;46:20-25.

  • Walker EA, Milgrom PM, Weinstein P, Getz T, Richardson R. Assessing abuse and neglect and dental fear in women. J Am Dent Assoc. 1996;127:485-490.

  • Mehra V, Family Violence Prevention F. Culturally competent responses for identifying and responding to domestic violence in dental care settings. J Calif Dent Assoc. 2004;32:387-395.

  • Gerbert B, Caspers N, Milliken N, Berlin M, Bronstone A, Moe J. Interventions that help victims of domestic violence. A qualitative analysis of physicians' experiences.[see comment]. J Fam Pract. 2000;49:889-895.

  • Mitchell C. How are children impacted by adult partner violence? J Calif Dent Assoc. 2004;32:317-320.

1.5. Additional Resources

Ask, Validate, Document, Refer (AVDR) Tutorial for Dentists Video

Developed by the UCSF School of Dentistry, The Ask, Validate, Document, Refer (AVDR) Tutorial for Dentists video (on CD) provides a brief, interactive learning experience to help dentists and dental students respond to the challenging problem of domestic violence. The 15 minute tutorial provides a case study demonstrating how to conduct the AVDR intervention—steps that can be used by dentists and other oral health care professionals as part of a simple, yet effective response to domestic violence. Two controlled trials have demonstrated that this brief tutorial prepares dentists and dental students to help their patients who are victims of domestic violence:

Dental Folio Tools to Enhance Dental Professionals’ Response to Domestic Violence

With editorial support from the ADA, CDA, Dental Professionals Against Violence and Tufts University School of Dental Medicine, this six page folio is one of the first specialized tools to enhance dental professionals’ response to domestic violence. Complete with an overview of clinical signs of domestic violence, routine assessment, documentation, and intervention, a fact sheet, national resource list, action steps to get involved, a pocket card with assessment tips, and summaries on JCAHO standard PC.3.10, mandatory reporting and privacy issues with corresponding web links for more information.

For additional information and to order in hard copy, please visit:

Domestic Violence Guide for Dental Professionals

To view an online, electronic version please visit: