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Code for reporting domestic violence and child abuse

We too are concerned with your safety at home!

We value the safety of our patients and their families. That’s why we are alert to any signs of domestic violence, neglect, child abuse or other forms of abuse. This applies to all patients throughout the hospital.

Any form of abuse or neglect is unacceptable. Healthcare-providers are often the first to see the physical or other effects of such behaviour. That’s why they play an important role in raising concerns about patients who could be victims of domestic violence, neglect, child abuse or other forms of abuse. And this, in turn, is why all healthcare professionals at the Erasmus MC observe the ‘Code for reporting domestic violence and child abuse’. All physicians are required by law to follow the code if they suspect that a patient is the victim of domestic violence, neglect, child abuse or another form of abuse.

What is the Code for reporting domestic violence and child abuse?

The code is a guideline in the form of a step-by-step plan. It sets out what physicians must do if they suspect that someone is the victim of abuse or domestic violence. It helps staff decide what action to take if they have concerns about a patient’s safety. The code also enables them to give the right response at an early stage, and may even help them prevent problems from arising in the first place.

Safety and security for all family members

Our staff are always alert to signs of domestic violence, neglect and child abuse. They routinely complete a special form to assess whether a patient’s family environment is safe. At all hospital  departments, any signs of violence, neglect or abuse are recorded in patients’ medicals files. We take full account of the complaint or injury affecting you or your child. If necessary, further questions are asked about your psychosocial situation.

For example, we perform what is known as a ‘child check’ or ‘carer check’ to find out whether any children or vulnerable elderly people are dependent on you, and who is going to take care of them if you are admitted to hospital with a serious condition.

Working together

If your physician suspects that there may be problems at home and that some form of help is needed, he or she will discuss this openly and frankly with you or, in the case of a minor, with the child’s guardian and, if possible, also with the child. Our aim is to help as much as possible in finding suitable assistance, and to prevent problems from arising or – where they are already evident – from getting any worse. Our overriding objective is to guarantee the safety of all family members and to strengthen family bonds.

The physician may also call in the help of one of our social welfare officers specialising in domestic violence and child and elder abuse. The contents of all meetings with social welfare officers are strictly confidential.

Veilig Thuis: A Safe Home

In certain situations, we consult Veilig Thuis (‘A Safe Home’), a national organisation that advises on and performs research into safety in the home. The organisation’s objective is to guarantee the safety of all family members and to strengthen family bonds. If there are any suspicions that a patient’s home situation may not be safe, this must be reported to Veilig Thuis, who talk to the patient in order to assess whether such concerns are justified.

If necessary, and working in cooperation with Veilig Thuis, we refer patients to suitable welfare workers. If you object to information being shared with third parties, you can discuss your objections with your physician. 

Domestic violence never stops by itself. Someone has to do something. The Code for reporting domestic violence and child abuse is there to help. Naturally, you are also free to tell us that your situation is not safe. We, too, are there to help.

Any questions?

If you have any questions, you should use the contact form below to contact your physician or one of our specialist welfare officers.

For further information, see the website of Veilig Thuis. (Dutch only)

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