Domestic violence discussed
Created 05/05/2010 16:54
A group of staff from across the Trust were recently given an awareness session on the dangers of domestic violence and how it can impact on their patients' health.
The Government defines domestic violence as: "Any incident of threatening behaviour, violence or abuse (psychological, physical, sexual, financial or emotional) between adults, aged 18 and over, who are, or have been, intimate partners or family members, regardless of gender and sexuality." This can result in physical harm such as fractures, facial injuries, or chronic injuries such as headaches and gynaecological problems. It can also cause psychiatric or emotional problems, including depression and suicidal thoughts.
It is a problem that impacts on children too. A 2002 study by the Department of Health found that at least 750,000 children a year witness domestic violence. Staff learned about the effects that this can have on their physical and mental health, including neglect, emotional insecurity and school truancy.
Professional health workers face many challenges in dealing with domestic violence among their patients. They may be afraid of offending them, or of making the situation worse. The awareness session provided staff with good practice guidelines to deal with these situations, and explained what specialist services can offer to victims of domestic violence. The services mentioned included help-lines, outreach workers, parenting workshops, children's support and refuges. Staff learned about the benefits of these specialist services, such as practical support and information, signposting to other relevant agencies (e.g. police) and ongoing support depending on needs.
The session was delivered by the charity ‘Solace Women's Aid'. For more information, contact their Advice Service on 0808 802 5565 or for more general enquiries at their Head Office on 020 7267 7947.