Health professionals responding to men for safety (HERMES): feasibility of a general practice training intervention to improve the response to male patients who have experienced or perpetrated domestic violence and abuse

Prim Health Care Res Dev. 2015 May;16(3):281-8. doi: 10.1017/S1463423614000358. Epub 2014 Sep 23.


Aim: To evaluate a training intervention for general practice-based doctors and nurses in terms of the identification, documentation, and referral of male patients experiencing or perpetrating domestic violence and abuse (DVA) in four general practices in the south west of England.

Background: Research suggests that male victims and perpetrators of DVA present to primary care clinicians to seek support for their experiences. We know that the response of primary care clinicians to women patients experiencing DVA improves from training and the establishment of referral pathways to specialist DVA services.

Method: The intervention consisted of a 2-h practice-based training. Outcome measures included: a pre-post, self-reported survey of staff practice; disclosures of DVA as documented in medical records pre-post (six months) intervention; semi-structured interviews with clinicians; and practice-level contact data collected by DVA specialist agencies.

Results: Results show a significant increase in clinicians' self-reported preparedness to meet the needs of male patients experiencing or perpetrating DVA. There was a small increase in male patients identified within the medical records (6 pre- to 17 post-intervention) but only five of those patients made contact with a specialist DVA agency identified within the referral pathway. The training increased clinicians' confidence in responding to male patients affected by DVA. The increase in recorded identification of DVA male patients experiencing or perpetrating DVA was small and contact of those patients with a specialist DVA support service was negligible. We need to better understand male help seeking in relation to DVA, further develop interventions to increase identification of male patients experiencing or perpetrating DVA behaviours, and facilitate access to support services.

Keywords: domestic violence; family violence; male; patient care; primary care; training.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Crime Victims / psychology
  • Crime Victims / statistics & numerical data
  • Criminal Behavior
  • Domestic Violence / prevention & control*
  • Domestic Violence / psychology
  • Education, Medical, Continuing
  • Education, Nursing, Continuing
  • England
  • Female
  • General Practice / education*
  • Help-Seeking Behavior*
  • Humans
  • Interviews as Topic
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Pilot Projects
  • Program Evaluation
  • Referral and Consultation / standards
  • Referral and Consultation / statistics & numerical data
  • Social Support