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Domestic Violence Nurse

Domestic violence nurses perform specialists’ work in the field of forensic nursing. Unlike popular belief, this nursing field is not related just to murder and is associated with any aspect of criminality including domestic brutality. These practitioners focus on providing nursing care and support to the vulnerable group of patients who have been subject to domestic abuse. These may include both children and adults, though women tend to be very common victims.


 Because of the nature of patients they deal with, these nurses not only provide physical care, but also emotional and mental support. The look after the patients’ wounds and injuries, maintain detailed record of their patients’ condition that can be used for any judicial proceedings, and dig out valuable information about interfering agencies from victims. Because their patients may have gone through some very traumatizing experiences, mental health assessment is also a involved in their work duties. For this very reason, they also need to be compassionate, empathetic, and able to communicate well with victims.

• Requirements for becoming a Domestic Violence Nurse

As with any nursing specialization, the first step in becoming a domestic violence nurse is becoming a registered nurse or RN. This means acquiring a two- or four-year associate or bachelor degree in this desired field, followed by passing the nursing licensure exam. It is a good idea to take courses in forensic nursing during the study. After this, one can start working as a registered nurse in the domestic violence field. Many nurses choose to get trained to become a sexual assault nurse examiner (SANE), which is a common sub-specialty.


Nurses can also undertake a Forensic Nursing Certification Exam as a voluntary choice, though this is not mandatory. The requirements for this certification include the following:


• Valid license as a registered nurse
• Three years of experience as a registered nurse
• Successful completion of an education program in nursing
• Membership of the American College of Forensic Examiners International

Passing the certification makes one a certified domestic violence nurse.

• Pay Scale and Job Prospects

This is a relatively new field of nursing. Therefore, the salary information available is quite limited, though the median salary ranges $25 to $100 an hour. Geographic location, years of experience, education and the type of facility one works for affects the pay scale.


This is a rising field with growing demand for domestic violence nurses. Unfortunately, domestic violence is a sad reality today, but awareness is growing about the importance of providing adequate care to victims. This field also connects health care and criminal justice, and prospects for these nurses’ careers appear quite bright.

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