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Am Fam Physician. 2000;62(9):1965-1967

to the editor: While I commend Drs. Nicolette and Nuovo for their in-depth editorial entitled “Reframing Our Approach to Domestic Violence: The Cyclic Batterer Syndrome,”1 it simply missed its mark. Let's face it folks, we are missing the forest for the trees here. We all know that it is a well documented fact that 90 percent of America's physicians are not even asking the question. Until we step up to the plate and take serious ownership of a universal domestic violence screening program, we will never improve our miserable performance in this public health crisis.

We cannot complicate the process, or make it more cumbersome than it already is, for the physician in the trenches. Simply put, “RADAR”2 (, a screening tool created by the Massachusetts College of Emergency Physicians and sponsored by such organizations as Physicians for Social Responsibility and Physicians for a Violence-Free Society, and their educational initiative “DOCumentation,” is on target and easy to implement. It simplifies a complicated intervention problem for all of us. Quite frankly, it is, and should continue to be, the standard bearer for health care domestic violence screening, identification, safety assessment and referral.

I challenge our state Academies, the American Academy of Family Physicians, the American College of Emergency Physicians, the American Academy of Obstetrics and Gynecology and the American Medical Association to adopt and implement this program. A famous author once said, “we cannot change everything that we face, but we will not change anything unless we face it.”

editor's note: This letter was sent to the authors of “Reframing our Approach to Domestic Violence: The Cyclic Batterer Syndrome,” who declined to reply.

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This series is coordinated by Kenny Lin, MD, MPH, deputy editor.

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