One of the most important elements in preventing abuse to vulnerable individuals is for health and mental health professionals to maintain a high state of vigilance in their practice
Jacksonville, Florida (Vocus) October 6, 2010
Professional Development Resources, a national provider of continuing education (CE) serving psychologists, social workers, professional counselors, marriage and family therapists, speech-language pathologists, and occupational therapists, has announced the release of a new online series of continuing education courses on the prevention, assessment, and treatment of domestic violence. The company just released the first three courses – which address child abuse and neglect, intimate partner violence, and elder maltreatment – for online publication. It plans to publish the rest of the series, which will deal with preventive strategies and international perspectives on domestic violence, by the end of the year.
According to the National Coalition against Domestic Violence, intimate partner violence is “the willful intimidation, physical assault, battery, sexual assault, and/or other abusive behavior perpetrated by an intimate partner against another.… Domestic violence results in physical injury, psychological trauma, and sometimes death. The consequences… can cross generations and truly last a lifetime.” The National Coalition reports the following facts about intimate partner violence:
- One in every four women will experience domestic violence in her lifetime.
- An estimated 1.3 million women are victims of physical assault by an intimate partner each year.
- 85% of domestic violence victims are women.
- Historically, females have been most often victimized by someone they knew.
- Females who are 20-24 years of age are at the greatest risk of nonfatal intimate partner violence.
- Most cases of domestic violence are never reported to the police.
The statistics on child abuse are similarly disturbing. A 2009 study published in the journal Pediatrics estimated that 1 in 5 U.S. children (20%) experience some form of child maltreatment. Approximately 1% are victims of sexual assault; 4% are victims of child neglect; 9% are victims of physical abuse; and 12% are victims of emotional abuse. The numbers add up to more than 20% because some children are subjected to more than one form of abuse.
A third vulnerable group of individuals are the elderly, who frequently depend upon family or non-family caregivers for their daily needs. According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), there is a lack of data on the numbers of persons age 60 and older who are victims of abuse. Many cases are not reported because elders are afraid to tell police, friends, or family about the violence. Victims face a particularly agonizing choice: tell someone they are being hurt or continue being abused by someone they depend upon or care for deeply.
“One of the most important elements in preventing abuse to vulnerable individuals is for health and mental health professionals to maintain a high state of vigilance in their practice,” says Leo Christie, PhD, CEO of Professional Development Resources. “Our goal as a provider of continuing education to mental health professionals is to make routine screening procedures, reporting hotlines, and support service resources widely accessible to all helping professionals.”
Florida, California, and a number of other states require mental health professionals to complete courses on domestic violence as part of their periodic license renewal. Awareness of domestic violence is essential for all professionals involved in clinical care. Identification of domestic violence and appropriate referrals can result in significant and meaningful change, including both a reduction of personal suffering and a reduction of long-term costs to society in terms of health care, legal involvement, and lost productivity. Inappropriate responses, or lack of responses, may both result in considerable harm; therefore, clinician education is fundamental to ensuring that standards of care are consistently implemented across healthcare systems.
Professional Development Resources has just published the first three courses in the new domestic violence series:
The remaining courses, which will address universal prevention strategies and international perspectives on domestic violence from the World Health Organization (WHO), are under development and will round out the series in the coming months.
About Professional Development Resources, Inc.
Professional Development Resources is a Florida nonprofit educational corporation founded in 1992 by licensed marriage and family therapist Leo Christie, PhD. The company, which is accredited by the American Psychological Association (APA), the Association of Social Work Boards (ASWB), the National Board for Certified Counselors (NBCC), the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA), the American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA) – as well as many other national and state boards – has focused its efforts on making online continuing education courses more efficient and widely accessible to health professionals by offering online home study coursework. Its current expanded curriculum includes a wide variety of clinical topics intended to equip health professionals to offer state-of-the art services to their clients.
Leo Christie, PhD, CEO
Professional Development Resources, Inc.