Domestic Abuse Training

We provide free training for dentists and vets about domestic abuse, a subject that many healthcare professionals find difficult to talk to patients about. The AVDR programme, developed in the USA and adapted for a Scottish context by MAV is a great example of best practice in the area of domestic abuse and can be applied to many healthcare settings. Domestic violence can affect anyone, regardless of race, religion, class or sexual orientation. The more health professionals are willing to raise the issue, the more likely it is that a victim will get help. You might not be able to provide that help yourself but you can provide information on where to get it.


AVDR is based on an American system developed by Dr Barbara Gerbet and limits the professional’s involvement to four simple tasks:

  • Asking the patient/client about abuse.
  • Providing Validating messages acknowledging that violence is wrong.
  • Documenting presenting signs, symptoms and disclosures in writing and with photographs and radiographs as appropriate.
  • Referring victims to domestic abuse specialists in the community.
  • Dentist

    Dentists are frequently the first healthcare professional a victim of domestic abuse sees when seeking care for violence related injuries as the face, teeth and neck are the most frequently injured areas. They often develop long lasting relationships with their patients that may encourage the disclosure of sensitive information, such as violence in a relationship. They are therefore perfectly placed to encourage reporting


    Research and clinical evidence increasingly suggests links between the abuse of children, vulnerable adults and animals. Members of veterinary teams may occasionally be presented with animals that have suffered abuse or non accidental injury, and may suspect that the owner is also a victim of abuse. This places vets, veterinary nurses and receptionists in a unique position when it comes to dealing with domestic abuse issues. Yet on the whole, vets are unprepared for this situation. Veterinary students receive little or no training in identifying and discussing animal abuse, let alone understanding the implications of domestic abuse. This is where our AVDR programme for vets can help

    Scottish Fire and Rescue Service

    The SFRS has identified a need to train officers about domestic abuse as there is a clear link with fire raising. In partnership with the VRU, MAV have created a training programme for firefighters using the AVDR programme.