Dental teams to spot abuse victims

That’s according to a policy adopted by the Liberal Democrats.

Nick Clegg’s party, at its annual conference in Glasgow, approved a package of measures to deliver a ‘stronger focus on prevention of domestic and sexual violence’.

Much of the document – entitled Dignity At Home – is aimed at stamping out bullying and harassment of both staff and patients in care homes, following recent scandals.

The Care Quality Commission (CQC) would be required to take tougher action and local authorities expected to avoid a ‘race to the bottom’ when commissioning care.

But the document also seeks to raise standards to ensure evidence of abuse is spotted by health professionals – including ‘those working with dental patients’.

The idea follows an initiative in part of Scotland, where dentists have been taught how to recognise teeth, face and head injuries – the most common evidence among abuse victims.

A charity persuaded the Scottish government that dentists were ideally placed to spot the signs of abuse as they worked in close proximity to their patients.

And it pointed to a survey which found that 70% of patients who sought help from their dentist wished they had been asked about the cause of their injuries.

Dignity At Home commits the Lib Dems to pushing for:

• Updated information and training on identifying and supporting abuse victims for all healthcare professionals

• Training and new procedures to deal with domestic abuse perpetrators.

• Lead departments in local authorities to co-ordinate training for, and

improved data collection by, all professions dealing with abuse victims.

• Making prevention of domestic violence a key performance indicators for elected police and crime commissioners.

By parliamentary correspondent Rob Merrick



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