Safety and Violence

Overview

Family physicians frequently find themselves on the front lines when it comes to issues like domestic violence, bullying, rape, and child abuse. As a result, they’re ideally positioned to provide patients with guidance and assistance in accessing important resources and support services.

In fact, family physicians educate communities about a wide range of safe behaviors, and are often instrumental in advancing policies that promote safety and discourage violence. These policies can range from state mandates, such as seatbelt laws and prohibitions against cellphone use while driving, to safety recommendations like gun locks and bicycle helmets.

Reducing risks begins with knowledge and understanding. As trusted health advisors, family physicians are singularly qualified to encourage new patterns of behavior that can improve individual and community safety. The AAFP has documented a number of policies relating to safety and violence issues in an effort to inform and equip family physicians as they serve the needs of their patients.