Nursing seminar focuses on family violence prevention
Violence prevention begins with each one of us, said Dr. Margaret
Brackley, an expert in domestic violence and the featured speaker at
the latest Seminar Series on Health sponsored by the School of Nursing
and the Nursing Advisory Council. Dr. Brackley, associate professor in
the Department of Chronic Nursing Care, said that emphasizing peace
over violence in everyday life will help bring an end to violence in
our homes. "We not only need to talk about peace, we need to
practice it," she said. "Prevention starts at a level that
affects all of us."
Family violence is believed to be the most common, yet least
reported, crime in the country. Verbal abuse is particularly
prevalent. "In this society, people use abusive language,"
Dr. Brackley said. "We are so tolerant of verbal abuse that it
isn't even considered abusive, but it can cause great harm. Lower the
volume, and try not to participate in it."
The statistics are frightening: Domestic violence is the number-one
cause of emergency room visits by women nationwide; four women a day
are murdered by their husbands or boyfriends; 4 million women are
physically abused by their partners each year.
In San Antonio, a recent study found that 60 percent of women seen
throughout the University Health System had a lifelong history of
victimization and 20 percent of the women were currently involved in
an abusive relationship.
"Family violence affects all of us," Dr. Brackley said.
"As a community we pay the price."
Children who grow up in abusive homes often grow up to be abusers
themselves, perpetuating the cycle of violence. Dr. Brackley shared
some ways in which we can disrupt the pattern: Foster a sense of
empathy in your children, show respect for others yourself, teach them
how to resolve issues without violence, honor people's differences and
build children's self-esteem early in their lives.
"Embrace differences and recognize that violence is never
OK," she concluded.
HSC researchers form Center for Violence Prevention
"Family violence ranks with heart disease and cancer as
a health issue," says Dr. Margaret Brackley, associate
professor in the Department of Chronic Nursing. "The
reduction of violence has become one of the nation's major
public health goals."
A psychiatric nurse, Dr. Brackley is an expert on the cost to
the individual and to society of widespread violence. She
recently was selected by the U.S. Department of Health and Human
Services Center for Mental Health Services as a member of the
Expert Panel to develop Best Practices Guidelines for Detection
and Treatment of Domestic Violence.
Dr. Brackley and assistant professor Yolanda Davila are
co-directors of the Nursing School's newly formed Center for
Violence Prevention. The center is designed to advance knowledge
on violence-related health needs in South Texas. It promotes and
supports violence-related research, education and clinical
The Center's objectives include:
- establishing an integrated database on violence in South
- serving as a clearinghouse for information and resources
related to violence
- developing research-based policies and procedures for
- providing a forum for multidisciplinary collaboration
among faculty and students with expertise and/or interest in
violence-related topics, and
- creating linkages with community agencies on
"The center will provide students and faculty
with the opportunity to participate in cutting edge,
state-of-the-art violence research, education and
practice," said Dr. Brackley. "A number of nursing
faculty already are engaged in studying various aspects of
violence. The center presents new opportunities for
interdisciplinary collaborative work and community
Dr. Brackley is the principal investigator of a $1.6 million
grant from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
to mount a coordinated community response to prevent intimate
partner violence in San Antonio and Bexar County. This major
grant is the extension of a project established several years
ago by Dr. Joe Thornton, psychiatry, at University Hospital. San
Antonio is one of 10 U.S. cities to receive this federal
Called the "San Antonio SAFE Family Project," its
collaborators include the Health Science Center, University
Health System, Family Violence Prevention Services, P.E.A.C.E.
Initiative, Bexar County Justice Center, San Antonio Police
Department, San Antonio Metropolitan Health District, Center for
Injury Prevention and Control, and Community First.
"The goal is to share information and resources so we
make genuine progress in eliminating family violence," said
"Through data sharing across agencies, we can gather the
evidence we need to make changes that will improve the lives of
families living with violence. We hope that by showing program
effectiveness in reducing violence, we can convince policy
makers and funding entities to provide more resources for these