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Safeguarding including domestic violence

In this section you will reflect on safeguarding concerns. 

This is not a safeguarding course. You will require additional training on safeguarding dependent on your role.  But this does give an opportunity to highlight some of the concerns that may need addressing before conception and raising awareness during the pregnancy. 

Domestic violence including physical, emotional, financial or sexual abuse is common, with one in four women experiencing abuse, increasing to one in three women during pregnancy.  One in seven men are also affected by domestic violence.    

Pregnancy is a stressful time for both partners and a time when the domestic abuse often starts or maybe the trigger to making it worse.  During pregnancy abuse increases the risk of miscarriage, premature birth and injury or death to the baby. 

Domestic violence between partners may also affect the early emotional development of the baby and other young children in the home resulting in behavioural problems, higher risk of developing mental health problems and they are more likely to be abused themselves later in life. 

Women are routinely asked about domestic abuse by the midwife during pregnancy because of the high risk of this happening.  It is often difficult for women to discuss the problem or to not recognise how problematic this is becoming as it can often start slowly and gradually.  They should feel able to discuss any concerns knowing these will be kept confidential and not shared with the partner.   

  • Have you supported anyone with conflict in their relationship?  What did you do well and what would you do better on another occasion? 
  • If you have not been in this situation what do you think the challenges would be for you and your colleagues? 
  • What do you think women are most concerned about when they consider discussion domestic violence? 

How can we help? 

Encourage women to discuss their pregnancy planning and the pregnancy with their partner and discuss concerns and anxieties. 

We can support women to discuss any concerns they have about their relationship. 

Dispel the myth that the children will be removed from them routinely if they share their problem. 

Encourage women to develop wider networks of support including other family members, support groups. 

Support with referral to agencies where appropriate.  There are often local agencies who can offer support.  National organisations include: 

  • Gingerbread – single parent support agency 
  • Confidential Freephone National Domestic Abuse Helpline run by Refuge 0808 2000 247 
  • Confidential support for men, Men’s Advice Line on 0808 8010 327 
  • Women’s Aid have an online directory of local support services Women’s Aid Directory 
  • Further information is available Domestic abuse in pregnancy – NHS