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Health care encounters are opportunities for primary care practitioners to identify women experiencing domestic violence and abuse (DVA). Increasing DVA support in primary care is a global policy priority but discussion about DVA during consultations remains rare. This article explores how primary care teams in the United Kingdom negotiate the boundaries of their responsibilities for providing DVA support. In-depth interviews were undertaken with 13 general practitioners (GPs) in two urban areas of the United Kingdom. Interviews were analyzed thematically. Analysis focused on the boundary practices participants undertook to establish their professional remit regarding abuse. GPs maintained permeable boundaries with specialist DVA support services. This enabled ongoing negotiation of the role played by clinicians in identifying DVA. This permeability was achieved by limiting the boundaries of the GP role in the care of patients with DVA to identification, with the work of providing support distributed to local specialist DVA agencies.

Original publication




Journal article


Qualitative Health Research

Publication Date