Equipping Hospitals to Care for Domestic Violence Victims

Health care providers play a critical role in helping domestic violence and sexual assault victims receive needed medical care and in gathering evidence used by the court system to help prevent abusers from striking again. To care for victims of domestic violence and sexual assault, The Duke Endowment granted more than $9.5 million between 2000 and 2005 to help hospitals respond more effectively to medical needs and forensic exams.


The impact of domestic violence can be shattering to individuals, families and communities. For women in the United States between ages 15 and 44, domestic violence is the leading cause of injury. Battered women are more likely to suffer miscarriages and to have low-birthweight children. Child abuse is 15 times more likely to occur in families where domestic violence is present. It often can be a silent scourge, frequently going unreported and unnoticed.

Equipping Providers to Meet Needs of Victims

Many victims turn to the health care system for help. Health care providers recognize the significant impact that domestic violence has on the health and well-being of individuals and families. To help prevent family violence from escalating, it is critical that hospitals and health care providers be equipped to meet the needs of these patients. By training health care providers to recognize signs of abuse and by equipping them to collect evidence that can be used to prosecute offenders, victims receive needed care and help.

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In 2001, The Duke Endowment began awarding grants to hospitals to strengthen domestic violence programs. Three primary objectives shaped grant activities:

  • Educate health care providers to identify and respond to victims of domestic violence
  • Improve training, skills and equipment needed to collect evidence and to document and treat victims of sexual assault
  • Strengthen community partnerships by improving hospitals' ability to partner with community agencies to prevent abuse and help victims receive needed services

Participating Sites

See participating sites in North Carolina and South Carolina.


Area of Work

  • Access to health care

  • Prevention

Program Area

  • Health Care

Grantmaking Status

This program ran from 2000 to 2005

Areas of Work

  • Prevention and early intervention for at-risk children

    To equip children and families with skills to ensure that children reach developmental milestones to lead successful lives.

  • Out-of-home care for youth

    To drive child welfare systems toward greater accountability for child well-being.

  • Quality and safety of health care

    Improving the quality and safety of health care delivery

  • Access to health care

    Improving health by increasing access to comprehensive care

  • Prevention

    Expanding programs to promote health and prevent disease

  • Academic excellence

    Enhancing academic excellence through program and campus development

  • Educational access and success

    Increasing educational access and supporting a learning environment that promotes achievement

  • Campus and community engagement

    Promoting a culture of service, collaboration and engagement among schools and communities

  • Rural church development

    Building the infrastructure and capacity of United Methodist churches to enhance ministry and mission

  • Clergy leadership

    Strengthening United Methodist churches by improving the quality and effectiveness of church leadership

  • Congregational outreach

    Engaging United Methodist congregations in programs that serve their communities