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Nurses at heightened risk of domestic abuse

Nurses are three times more likely than the average person to have experienced domestic abuse.

Nurses are three times more likely than the average person to have experienced domestic abuse.

A Cavell Nurses’ Trust survey of more than 2,200 nurses, midwives and healthcare assistants revealed 14% had experienced domestic abuse in the past year.

The report, called Skint, Shaken yet Still Caring. But Who is Caring for Our Nurses? also found:

  • Almost one in five (18.4%) had skipped meals because of financial difficulties.
  • Nearly half (48%) could not afford to repair their homes – the figure for the general population is 19%.
  • More than two in five (42.5%) had a health condition expected to last longer than a year.

According to the National Centre for the Study and Prevention of Violence and Abuse (NCSPVA), one of the many, complex reasons nurses are subject to higher levels of domestic abuse is their values of care, compassion and courage.

‘Reasons of altruism’

Centre lecturer Claire Richards said: ‘The values that nurses adhere to in their career - including the six Cs of nursing: care, compassion, competence, communication, courage, commitment - may increase the likelihood of them staying with an abusive partner for reasons of altruism or a possible belief their partner needs them.

‘Nurses may see their partners’ behaviour as part of a wider problem, such as depression, unemployment or a drink problem that they seek to treat or heal.’

Former chief nursing officer for England and Cavell Nurses' Trust patron Dame Christine Beasley added: ‘We already know some frontline nurses face abuse from patients.

‘To learn that some are also facing abuse in their personal lives is shocking.’

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