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Grants authorized for violence education, training

Washington—President Obama signed legislation March 7 authorizing grants to strengthen the health care system's response to domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault and stalking.

The Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act of 2013 extends the statutory authority for federal programs designed to prevent domestic violence, including programs to help health care professionals better identify, counsel and refer victims of domestic abuse. The Association supported similar legislation in the previous Congress.

"Dentists who receive domestic violence education are significantly more likely to screen their patients for domestic violence and intervene," the Association told the 112th Congress.  

The legislation passed by the 113th Congress and enacted by presidential signature authorizes grants for the development or enhancement and implementation of education programs for medical, nursing, dental and other health profession students and residents to prevent and respond to domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault and stalking.

Grants awarded under this authority "shall be used to fund interdisciplinary training and education programs…that are designed to train medical, psychology, dental, social work, nursing and other health professions students, interns, residents, fellows or current health care providers to identify and provide health care services…to individuals who are or who have been victims of domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault or stalking."

Grant monies may also be used for dental and other education and training on "the health effects of lifetime exposure to violence and abuse as well as related protective factors and behavioral risk factors" and "integration of knowledge of domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault and stalking into health care accreditation and professional licensing examinations" such as dental and other licensing examinations.

Colleges will also be required to create and disseminate policies describing the protections, resources and services available to victims to help them safely continue their education, the White House said.