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

Caroline Bradbury-Jones, Julie Taylor, Thilo Kroll, Fiona Duncan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

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-struc- tured, 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 empower- ment’ 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 profes- sionals 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 pages11
JournalJournal of Clinical Nursing
Volume23
Issue number21-22
Early online date21 Jan 2014
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 13 Oct 2014

Keywords

  • Awareness
  • Disclosure
  • Domestic Abuse
  • Domestic Violence
  • Empowerment
  • Health Visitors
  • Interpersonal Violence
  • Johari Window
  • Midwives
  • Nurses
  • Recognition

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