Spousal abuse

April 9, 2004

I strongly suspect that one of my patients is being physically abused by her husband. May I report this information to anyone?

Q: I strongly suspect that one of my patients is being physically abused by her husband. May I report this information to anyone?

A: You can report it to the appropriate state agency if one of the following conditions is met: (1) your state requires the disclosure; (2) your state permits the disclosure and you believe it's necessary to prevent serious harm to your patient or others; or (3) the patient consents. In any case, first speak to your patient about your concern, encouraging her to seek help or to permit you to report your suspicions.