Massachusetts Medical Society: New Law to Require Domestic Violence Training for Physicians

New Law to Require Domestic Violence Training for Physicians


Gov. Deval Patrick recently signed into law a comprehensive bill that will significantly expand protection for victims of domestic violence and require physicians and other health care providers to receive domestic violence and sexual assault training. This type of training will also be required for those working in the criminal justice system and elementary and secondary schools.

The state Board of Registration in Medicine and other appropriate licensing boards are tasked with developing the regulations, which are expected to require training on partner violence for medical licensure or biennial license renewal. The training, intended to help physicians better assist victims, must cover the psychological and physiological symptoms and effects of  domestic violence and the availability of area support services for survivors. The training will also focus on specific populations, such as LGBT and non-English-speaking, and signs of a potential abuser. The implementation date for training is July 1, 2015.

The MMS has resources for both physicians and patients on how to recognize violent situations, including a guidebook on intimate partner violence. The guidebook discusses the signs of domestic violence, and its negative health effects, and guides the physician through the process of reporting. This guidebook and related resources can be found at

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