RCN members call for mandatory training on domestic abuse

All health care workers should receive training, delegates at congress agree

All nurses should be trained to be aware of domestic abuse and should have the knowledge to support victims of this ‘hidden’ problem, RCN members have agreed.

Delegates at the RCN congress in Glasgow overwhelmingly supported a resolution asking the RCN Council to lobby for mandatory domestic abuse awareness training for all health care workers.

Amanda Burston, who was named RCN Nurse of the Year in last year’s Nursing Standard awards for her work spearheading a domestic violence service at Royal Stoke University Hospital, said that men and women were affected and that victims typically saw health professionals five times before getting the support they needed.


‘Domestic abuse is growing and constantly evolving; it’s complex, finds new ways of destroying lives and is found in all sections of society.

‘It’s hidden in our patients and it’s hidden in our colleagues.’

‘It’s time for health to take a lead to educate its nurse workforce.’

'Not just couples'

Zeba Arif, chair of the RCN national forensic nursing forum, said the problem was widespread and action must be taken. ‘Domestic abuse isn’t just between couples, but siblings, and cousins, and children,’ she warned.

Valerie Douglas, a lecturer in adult health at the University of the West of Scotland, said action was needed so that nurses could speak up for people who couldn’t speak up for themselves. ‘It’s hidden, invisible,’ she said.

The motion was carried overwhelmingly, with 15 voting against and eight abstentions.





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