Experiences with Family doctors

“When you sit there and sharing the worst, you’ll easily notice when the family doctor don’t really care”

“Your doctor can be very uncertain about the situation when bringing it up. The worst thing he or she can say is; this is not something I take care of”

“My family doctor could handle it. He took the hint the first time I spoke about it and he responded without being frightened or startled. It gave me confidence and I felt respected.”

“When I told my doctor about the assault, it got very uncomfortable for him. I could tell just by looking at him. He was very fidgety where he sat. I also noticed he didn’t know anything about it. He then told me that my symptoms, high blood-pressure and anger fell into place”

“I told about the abuse. He was wondering if I was on medication and if I had trouble sleeping. The abuse was no longer mentioned in our conversation. It became an uncomfortable experience to sit there.”

“Some doctors doesn’t see sexual abuse as a problem. “You’ll get over it, you know?””

“It might be that a lot of family doctors will deny and suppress this topic. It’s probably getting too personal and they can’t handle that ”

“Family doctors MUST be willing and accepting what they’re being told, if someone is telling”

“Family doctors should be educated about sexual abuse. They are the ”threshold” most of us are meeting with frequently. Family doctors are vital, if several children, youths or adults want to open up to somebody.”

“If you as a doctor is under suspicion, you could start a relaxing conversation and say; I have a question for you. I mean you only well and no harm. Is there something really weighing on your conscience? If you’ve experiences something we’ve not talked about, I would like to know about it.”

“Another good question is: How can I approach you so we can communicate better? What is important about me as a doctor for you?”

Requests and advice to the family doctor:

• Show respect. We know our situation the best. Listen carefully.
• Questions about abuse should be a common question which is asked by the family doctors. It will then normalize and give everyone a chance being asked.
• When we’re telling about sexual abuse, do not end the session without talking about it further.
• The family doctor must go through the layers of the topic if it’s brought up, not beat around the bush.
• If you as a family doctor have any suspicion, bring it up directly.
• All family doctors must know what a support center is and location of the closest center.
• All family doctors must know where to refer you. They should also to be able to provide information to help you getting further. This could be in the form of pamphlets or similar.
• You must refer early as possible when you know the patient have been subjected to sexual abuse.

Requests and advice to NAV employees

Positive statements from meetings with NAV:

“I’m sad to hear this and would really like to help you, but I don’t think I can handle it. I’ll hear with someone if they can handle this in a better way.”

“This must be taken seriously. I have great understanding of what you’re telling me now. I respect you for telling me this. I’ll do what I can.”

Negative statements from meetings with NAV:

“It’s Wednesday today. We can’t have Monday’s dinner. Move on with your life.”

“You’re not that sick, so you can’t work because you were abused?”

“Are you letting that to get in your way? The past is the past, don’t let it ruin you.”

Requests and advice to NAV employees
• Understand that deliberately overbearing comments do hurt.
• Don’t be condescending
• Be inquisitive
• Be honest and tell them you’re familiar with the field and refer them.
• See us mostly as humans, not as numbers and statistics.
• Show empathy, with an equivalent attitude.