Background Health care systems remain a key entry point for support and care for survivors of gender-based violence (GBV), yet their involvement in disclosure and referral remain low. Some of the reasons may be lack of referral systems and/or lack of training and resources.
Methods An environmental scan was conducted as part of the EU funded IMPLEMENT project in six European countries (Austria, Bulgaria, France, Germany, Italy, Romania) to orient the implementation of health system capacity building seminars aiming to empower health care providers in increasing specialised support to survivors of GBV. The environmental scan focused on identifying baseline information on leadership, infrastructure and capacity of the health care system where the seminars were to be implemented, i.e. in one setting (emergency departments and obstetric clinics) in each participating country.
Results In France, Italy and Germany, certain health providers already receive some training on GBV and victim protection during their residency or medical/nursing school, but in Austria and Bulgaria there is no specific training. In Romania, only resident doctors receive 1–2 hours training on risk assessment of GBV victims, as there is a referral system that allows early identification and rapid response to GBV. In Austria, Bulgaria and Germany there is no referral system in place yet, while in France and Italy, similar to Romania, there is a system but only for cases participating in the project. Networks of GBV prevention practitioners that could provide support for implementing referral systems were identified in all participant countries.
Conclusions The implementation of a direct referral system between health professionals and specialised GBV services creates the link needed to strengthen the health system response to gender-based violence in the EU. Examples of effective referral system are well needed in order to reduce the burden of GBV.
- gender-based violence
- environmental scan
- situational analysis
- referral system
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