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Domestic abuse: Professional Resources

Links to websites and organisations providing relevant information and support to victims of domestic abuse

This page provides information and resources for all nursing and midwifery staff working in any setting.

The resources provide guidance and advice for anyone who will encounter people impacted by domestic abuse.

RCN resources

Anonymous Registration on the Electoral Register in the UK

The RCN supports the need for all individuals to be able to contribute to society, and this includes an individual’s right and access to register to vote. This guidance is aimed at nurses and midwives, who may be supporting victims of domestic abuse or related safeguarding issues, to register to vote anonymously in elections.

See: Anonymous Registration on the Electoral Register in the UK.

RCN position statement on domestic abuse

The RCN is committed to supporting nurses, midwives and health care workers to better understand the complexities that surround domestic abuse, whether it affects them personally or professionally. This statement sets out the RCN's position on domestic abuse. It defines domestic abuse and summarises the College's actions and commitments in this area.

View the RCN's position statement.

Risk assessment pathway to identify domestic abuse

Domestic abuse is a major safeguarding issue and all health care professionals have a role in increasing awareness, and being inquiring when confronted with behaviours that raise concerns and alarm, even if there is no evidence of injury. The vast majority of health care professionals will come in contact with someone who is a victim of abuse within the confines of their recognised home, and need to know what to do.

As part of the RCN's ongoing work, the project team have developed a single page pathway which will help nurses and midwives to better understand their role when they suspect someone may be a victim of domestic abuse. Often the challenge is what to do if there is a suspicion or initial instinct that someone (patient or colleague) is at risk of /or a casualty of domestic abuse?

This pathway provides some introductory questions which may be used to initiate a conversation where there are concerns, and what to if there is an immediate risk, or less urgent risk to be managed. It also provides space to add local contacts. It is critically important, that once a suspicion has been confirmed that the health care professional knows who to contact and what needs to be done, to ensure the victim remains safe and is cared for effectively. For example, who to contact if the woman is pregnant, or has other needs. 

It is important to acknowledge the pathway is simply an overview of ways forward, and should be supplemented with ongoing safe guarding training and education.

Guidance for Nurses and Midwives to Support Those Affected by Domestic Abuse

Domestic abuse is a significant safeguarding issue in all societies and is a challenging issue for everyone. This guide has been developed in response to the recognition by the RCN of the need for nurses, midwives and health care support workers and all health care professionals to have an understanding of the impact of the domestic abuse of patients, clients and colleagues.

For more information, see: Guidance for Nurses and Midwives to Support Those Affected by Domestic Abuse.

Further resources

A cry for health. The ‘Cry for health’ evaluation study published by SafeLives looks at the impact of providing specialist support for victims and survivors of domestic abuse in a hospital setting. 'Domestic abuse has a devastating effect on the health and wellbeing of victims and families, and is a national public health epidemic.' 

NHS Employers: Domestic violence. This page looks at the financial cost of domestic violence to employers.

Nursing Times. Abuse in the home and the role of the nurse in the community.

RCNi. Lambert, N. Supporting people who are experiencing domestic abuse (2021).

RCNi. Primary Health Care journal. Using forum theatre with health visitor students to improve recognition and risk assessment of honour-based violence.

Please follow the links to find out more about:

Legislation and employment support for the specific legal position across the UK. Also employment support particularly for nurses and midwives and those working in health care.

National guidance for UK wide and specific country guidance 

General resources and support provides a selection of useful links to web sites and organisations providing relevant information and support to victims and those impacted by domestic abuse.

Page last updated - 09/06/2022