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Revista de Saúde Pública

On-line version ISSN 1518-8787Print version ISSN 0034-8910


MOREIRA, Simone da Nóbrega Tomaz; GALVAO, Lílian Lira Lisboa Fagundes; MELO, Carmen Oliveira Medeiros  and  AZEVEDO, George Dantas de. Physical violence against women from the perspective of health professionals. Rev. Saúde Pública [online]. 2008, vol.42, n.6, pp.1053-1059.  Epub Oct 03, 2008. ISSN 1518-8787.

OBJECTIVE: To comprehend the perception of health professionals regarding physical violence against women by an intimate partner. METHODOLOGICAL PROCEDURES: This is a qualitative study performed in 2006 on 30 health professionals from three National Health System units in the city of Natal, Northeastern Brazil. Semi-structured interviews were conducted on three thematic topics: ideas associated to physical violence suffered by women; action of the health professional; and the role of health services. The series of interviews included questions on the perception of professionals about gender relations, physical violence, action as a health professional, and the role of health services. Categories were formed from these topics using the thematic content analysis. RESULTS: Health professionals pointed several factors that influence domestic violence situations, among which are machismo, poor economic conditions, alcoholism, and previous experiences of violence in the family environment. The study group reported they did not feel qualified to discuss the subject with the population and stressed the need that health services promote educational activities with this aim. CONCLUSIONS: The results suggest the need for systematized and effective actions aimed at humanizing health care for the battered woman.

Keywords : Violence against Women, Social Perception; Human Health resources; Health-related Knowledge [Attitudes and Practice]; Qualitative Study.

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