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D. Abused Women Find Help In the Emergency Ward

Narrator: Women in abusive relationships may find help in the emergency ward. This is Science Today. A pilot program at San Francisco General Hospital is training emergency room personnel to identify and intervene in cases of domestic violence. The program is run by Dr. Beth Kaplan of the University of California, San Francisco.

Kaplan: One of the things that nurses and physicians have said in the past is that they care about domestic violence but it's too overwhelming, they don't know what to do, how can they help.

Narrator: But now, when a woman who's been abused shows up in the emergency room, doctors and nurses there can refer to a simple packet of information that tells them how to identify probable abuse, make referrals and provide moral support to the abused woman.

Kaplan: One of the things that we emphasize is that the goal of the practitioner is not to get the patient out of the relationship and into a shelter that day. But to provide them with their options so that when they're ready they can take the next step, to provide them with some support, and the knowledge that they're not alone and that they don't deserve to be beaten.

Narrator: So far, the program -- one of 12 around the country -- has been a success. For Science Today, I'm Steve Tokar.