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Guidelines for Handling Domestic Violence Cases in Community Mental Health Centers
Carol E. Jordan; Robert Walker
Psychiatric Services 1994; doi:
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Kentucky Department for Mental Health and Mental Retardation Services, 275 East Main Street, Frankfort, Kentucky 40621

Bluegrass East Comprehensive Care Center in Lexington, Kentucky

1994 by the American Psychiatric Association

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Community mental health centers are becoming increasingly involved in the delivery of services to victims and perpetrators of domestic violence. To help centers plan a domestic violence program and address the risk of liability in treating clients who may be dangerous, the authors suggest principles to guide clinical decisions, standards for service delivery, and standards for staff development. Domestic violence is clearly defined as criminal behavior. In treatment, cessation of violence takes priority over family reunification and resolution of issues between victim and perpetrator. Decisions about accepting a perpetrator in treatment should be made by the treatment provider, even if treatment is mandated by the court. Suggestions for reducing the burden of domestic violence cases on individual dinicians include using treatment teams, establisbing guidelines for maximum caseloads, and encouraging mixed caseloads. CMHCs have an important role in a comprehensive approach to domestic violence that includes a wide array of services and careful coordination among agencies that provide them.

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