Background As family physicians, General Practitioners (GPs) have a high capacity to identify and assist the survivors of gender-based violence (GBV). However, in Sri Lanka, GPs are not trained to provide GBV services. This study aimed to assess Sri Lankan GPs’ knowledge, attitudes and skills on GBV, in order to identify their training needs.
Methods We conducted a postal survey between 1st June and 31st July 2015 with all the registered full-time GPs in Sri Lanka (n = 526). An anonymous self-administered structured questionnaires was used to assess GPs’ knowledge, attitudes, responsibility, and self-reported practices on GBV. Out of the 526 GPs, 124 returned completed questionnaires. We analysed data using SPSS version 20 statistical software.
Results Of all the GPs included in the study (n = 124), 70.5% were male, 80.2% were more than 45 years old, and 83.5% were practicing as GPs for more than 5 years. The mean score for GPs’ GBV knowledge was 20.8% (Standard Deviation (SD) = 5.52). The mean score for attitudes on GBV was 60.35% (SD = 15.13), and for perceived responsibility to assist GBV survivors was 61.57% (SD = 13.50). The mean score for the self-confidence to identify and manage GBV was 75.28% (SD = 20.50). When asked, 56.1% reported that they see a GBV survivor very rarely, and only 8.3% reported that they see a GBV survivor at least once a week; it is known that one in three Sri Lankan women experience GBV. Of all, 77.2% of the GPs believed that they should intervene to prevent GBV because it is a health issue, while only 56.1% believed that GBV is a human rights violation.
Conclusion GPs’ have a high self-confidence to identify and assist GBV survivors. However, their knowledge on GBV is less. Possibly because of that, in actual practice, GPs rarely identify GBV. Although, several GPs identify GBV as a health problem, almost 45% of the GPs do not see GBV as a human rights violation. Improving GP’s knowledge on GBV might improve their response for GBV.
- Gender-based violence
- General Practitioners