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CASE REPORT
Challenges facing a woman wishing to report intimate partner violence in Belize

Summary

We present a case of a 29-year-old woman who presented to a volunteer-run primary care facility in Southern Belize. Her initial presentation was vaginal itching and white discharge; she also requested insertion of a sub-dermal contraceptive implant. During the insertion, marks suspicious for deliberate self-harm were noticed on the patient’s arm, and on further exploration she revealed she was being physically and emotionally abused by her husband. With some encouragement, she requested help in taking further action to preserve her safety; however, in Belize clinicians have no power to assist in cases involving adults. Therefore, the victim should self-present to a police station, resulting in a significant potential barrier to reporting intimate partner violence (IPV). Here we discuss this barrier further, as well as other barriers that exist to reporting IPV, and discuss possible policy changes that may improve the situation in Belize.

  • healthcare improvement and patient safety
  • public health

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