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National Intitutes of Health
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History of Nursing and Domestic Violence Collection 1975-2007
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Biography

Historical Note

The ability to identify victims of domestic violence, or intimate partner violence (IPV), and knowledge of its many deleterious effects on families are topics which have only recently received serious study. Recognizing that nurses are usually a victim's first point of contact in hospital or clinical settings, nursing educators initiated pioneering research on IPV's effects beginning in the 1970s. Nursing professor Dr. Barbara J. Parker conducted notable studies on the probability of women becoming battered wives and the relationship between abuse and pregnancy complications. Her influence at the University of Virginia's School of Nursing greatly expanded the field of scholarly research on IPV issues. Since 1980, Dr. Jacquelyn C. Campbell has also been a leading researcher and advocate on violence against women and has participated in many national and international health studies on domestic violence. In 1986 she developed the danger assessment test, now a routine nursing diagnostic tool, to predict the likelihood of further violence or homicide in individual cases. To enhance a nurse's ability to recognize evidence of domestic abuse, a new nursing specialty has been developed. Forensic nursing programs train nurses to detect in a patient's condition all manner of criminal violence, including IPV. Dr. Daniel J. Sheridan, a leader in the field, conducts the forensic nursing program at the Johns Hopkins School of Nursing. Sheridan's background includes extensive legal experience in sexual assault and domestic violence cases and has developed forensic sexual assault examinations. Through research and education, Parker, Campbell, and Sheridan have helped provide nurses with an understanding of the dynamics of domestic violence, the knowledge to recognize signs of abuse, and the training to offer assistance. This collection comprises some of the activities, writings, and collected literature of these three influential persons.