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Journal Article


Lazenbatt A, Thompson-Cree ME. Health Soc. Care Community 2009; 17(4): 358-370.


School of Sociology, Social Policy & Social Work, Queen's University Belfast, Medical Biology Centre, Belfast, UK.


(Copyright © 2009, John Wiley and Sons)






This study aimed to compare and contrast how midwives working in either hospital or community settings are currently responding to the co-occurrence of domestic and child abuse (CA), their perceived role and willingness to identify abuse, record keeping, reporting of suspected or definite cases of CA and training received. A survey questionnaire was sent to 861 hospital and community midwives throughout Northern Ireland which resulted in 488 midwives completing the questionnaire, leading to a 57% response rate. Comparisons were made using descriptive statistics and cross-tabulation, and the questionnaire was validated using exploratory factor analysis. Community midwives reported receiving more training on domestic and CA. Although a high percent of both hospital and community midwives acknowledged a link between domestic violence (DV) and CA, it was the community midwives who encountered more suspected and definite (P < 0.001) cases of CA. More community midwives reported to be aware of the mechanisms for reporting CA. However, an important finding is that although 12% of community midwives encountered a definite case of CA, only 2% reported the abuse, leaving a 10% gap between reporting and identifying definite cases of CA. Findings suggest that lack of education and training was a problem as only a quarter of hospital-based midwives reported to have received training on DV and 40% on CA. This was significantly less than that received by community midwives, as 57% received training on DV, and 62% on CA. The study suggests that midwives need training on how to interact with abused mothers using non-coercive, supportive and empowering mechanisms. Many women may not spontaneously disclose the issues of child or domestic abuse in their lives, but often respond honestly to a sensitively asked question. This issue is important as only 13% of the sample actually asked a woman a direct question about DV.

Language: en


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