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Puzzelteile in verschiedenen Farben

Information for dentists

As a dentist, you are often the first medical point of contact for victims of domestic violence - and sometimes even the only one.

Unlike injuries caused by punches or kicks to the body, traces of violence experienced on the face cannot be easily hidden. And because injuries to the jaw often don't heal on their own, the majority of abused people seek dental care first and foremost.

As a dentist, you are therefore at a special interface. With your documentation of the injuries sustained, it is easier for the victim to take legal action against the perpetrator later on. For this purpose, the North Rhine Dental Association has published the forensic dentistry findings form (PDF download).

What should you do if you suspect domestic violence?

Take a look! Look for typical injuries such as lacerations, bruises, broken teeth and fractures in the jaw area. Hematomas of different colors can also be a sign of prolonged violence.

Listen to the victim! If the victim's story about the cause of the injury seems contradictory to you, take the precaution of asking questions.

Document it! Ask for permission to fill out the findings form together with the patient. This is then placed in the patient's file. It is also advisable to photograph the injuries and to take an X-ray and an impression of the jaw.