Domestic abuse awareness and recognition among primary healthcare professionals and abused women: a qualitative investigation

Caroline Bradbury-Jones (Lead / Corresponding author), Julie Taylor, Thilo Kroll, Fiona Duncan

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    32 Citations (Scopus)

    Abstract

    Aims and objectives
    To investigate the dynamics of domestic abuse awareness and recognition among primary healthcare professionals and abused women.

    Background
    Domestic abuse is a serious, public health issue that crosses geographical and
    demographic boundaries. Health professionals are well placed to recognise and respond to domestic abuse, but empirical evidence suggests that they are reluctant to broach the issue. Moreover, research has shown that women are reluctant to disclose abuse.

    Design
    A two-phase, qualitative study was conducted in Scotland.

    Methods
    Twenty-nine primary health professionals (midwives, health visitors and general
    practitioners) participated in the first phase of the study, and 14 abused women took part in phase two. Data were collected in 2011. Semi-structured, individual interviews were conducted with the health professionals, and three focus groups were facilitated with the abused women. Data were analysed using a framework analysis approach.

    Findings
    Differing levels of awareness of the nature and existence of abuse are held by abused women and primary healthcare professionals. Specifically, many women do not identify their experiences as abusive. A conceptual representation of domestic abuse – the “abused women, awareness, recognition and empowerment' framework – arising from the study – presents a new way of capturing the complexity of the disclosure process.

    Conclusion
    Further research is necessary to test and empirically validate the framework,
    but it has potential pedagogical use for the training and education of health professionals and clinical use with abused women.

    Relevance to clinical practice
    The framework may be used in clinical practice by nurses and other health
    professionals to facilitate open discussion between professionals and women. In turn, this may empower women to make choices regarding disclosure and safety planning.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)3057-3068
    Number of pages12
    JournalJournal of Clinical Nursing
    Volume23
    Issue number21-22
    Early online date21 Jan 2014
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - Nov 2014

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