Registered Nurses' Association of Ontario

Responding To Disclosure

To respond appropriately:

  •  Believe the woman;
  •  Name the abuse (identify what she is experiencing is abuse);
  •  Assess immediate health needs; if a recent sexual assault has occurred, refer for sexual assault care;
  •  Assess immediate safety and complete a safety check;
  •  Explore her immediate concerns/needs and determine a plan of action;
  •  With the woman’s consent, refer to appropriate resources, including multi-disciplinary health team, community specialists, counsellors, support groups, shelters, and justice/advocacy services; and
  •  Have a contact list of violence against women services available

When responding to a disclosure of woman abuse/intimate partner violence, keep the following tips in mind:

  • Always interview in private
  • Believe the client
  • Assess for safety (never assume that a past history of abuse precludes a present history as well)
  • Offer support
  • Ask permission to refer to another resource person
Women and Children
Woman Abuse: Screening, Identification and Initial Response
Point of Care Resources