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C. Compassionate Doctors Help Abused Patients
Narrator: This is Science Today. A study looking into the techniques doctors use to identify victims of domestic violence, has found those who compassionately ask patients if they are being abused are the most successful. Barbara Gerbert, a behavioral scientist at the University of California, San Francisco, defines the term "compassionate asking".

Gerbert: What that means is, you don't need to ask a direct yes, no question and get a direct, "yes, I have been physically abused." To give a validating message as a physician saying, "you know, sometimes when I see patients who have presenting symptoms like yours, it means that they're being abused and I feel that for those patients, this is not right, they don't deserve it."

Narrator: Another positive act was calling hotlines or shelters while the patient was present.

Gerbert: They make that connection for the woman in the safety of the health care setting and make arrangements for follow-up for later so that the connection is made.

Narrator: For Science Today, I'm Larissa Branin.