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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

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.

Domestic abuse pocket guide

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: Domestic abuse pocket guide

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.'

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.