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A team set up to identify people living with domestic abuse not only benefits patients, it has supported staff too, writes Jennifer Sprinks

A team set up to identify people living with domestic abuse not only benefits patients, it has supported staff too, writes Jennifer Sprinks.

Abstract

From February, NICE guidelines call for enhanced support for patients in emergency departments or maternity units who are thought to have experienced domestic abuse. The Royal Stoke University Hospital’s Steps to Safety team, set up in partnership with the charity Arch, is already seeking to help such patients and provide the support they need by referring them for specialist practical and emotional support.

Shame and guilt are two feelings commonly reported by survivors of domestic abuse – the stigma associated with the experience means they often feel judged and isolated.

Some struggle for many years, even decades, to leave their abuser and it is only when they receive external support that they find the strength to move on.

This is why it is vital to ensure people subjected to domestic abuse receive specialist support when they present to healthcare services. However, the NHS has been slow to offer such provision, says Davina James-Hanman, an independent consultant in violence against women and girls.

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This article was first published in print in Nursing Standard: volume 30, issue 21

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