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Health visitors to be trained to spot domestic abuse

Around 300 health visitors will be trained to become local experts on domestic abuse, under plans announced by the Institute of Health Visiting.

These experts will then “disseminate” their knowledge to other colleagues, the institute said in its first annual report, which was published last week.

Institute director Cheryll Adams told Nursing Times she aimed to create one or two domestic abuse experts in every trust and every university, who would receive a two-day training course and a training pack. The training programme is being funded by the Department of Health.

Dr Adams said: “Domestic abuse is one of the ‘toxic three’, which comes out time and time again in serious case reviews where children have been killed. Health visitors are in a pivotal place as they provide universal services to pick up domestic violence, to support the victims and to help them to protect their children.”

Cheryll Adams

Cheryll Adams

The institute also intends to launch fellowship scheme, which will recognise senior health visitors as experts and create specialist opportunities to develop their skill base locally and nationally.

Dr Adams said: “We expect the fellows to become local leaders who are called on locally and nationally to represent their profession.  This certainly isn’t about just giving someone a title.”

As well as its ambitions for next year, the annual report outlined progress since the institute was launched in November 2012. It noted that this year it had trained nearly 300 health visitors from 108 healthcare organisations to act as local experts on perinatal mental health.


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Readers' comments (3)

  • Really?

    I was the victim of physical, mental & emotional abuse.

    I was married to a policeman, he was 'charming' to everyone.

    No-one, not even my parents, knew.

    DV is thrives behind closed doors

    Unsuitable or offensive?

  • Last line should read

    DV thrives behind closed doors

    Unsuitable or offensive?

  • This is an excellent initiative. The relationship families build up with their health visitor can last for years. Health visiting work is based in the home, where people feel comfortable and able to express feelings. It's the ideal context for abused women to find the confidence to disclose such abuse.

    DV is often concealed & denied because victims feel they've failed in their relationships and try to maintain an appearance of normality. It is not easy to tell anyone you've been terrorised by a controlling partner or that you have been beaten or sexually abused. There's also the fear for children exposed to such behaviour.

    HVs need to have a clear picture of local agencies who can help with safe refuge and legal advice because you never know when a client will need advice & support.

    Unsuitable or offensive?

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