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RCOG release: Working together to stop domestic violence against women

News 6 March 2015

Domestic violence is a major problem in the UK. One in four women in England and Wales have experienced some form of domestic abuse or violence. One in ten women have been raped. Domestic violence accounts for one third of violent crimes and the cost in human and economic terms is enormous – an estimated £23 billion per year in the UK.

To mark International Women’s Day in 2015, the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (RCOG) is hosting a one-day conference and workshop focussing on gender-based domestic violence and how healthcare professionals can work together to prevent it and provide better care and support to victims.

Jane Ellison MP, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Public Health will open the conference and discuss the Government’s role in protecting vulnerable women and their families from domestic violence.

Deborah Jamieson OBE, Chief Executive Officer of Eliminate Domestic Violence The Global Foundation (EDV) will then address the global public health impact of domestic violence. Other presentations will come from Polly Neate, the Chief Executive of Women’s Aid, who will describe the role of professionals and multi-agency working in order to tackle the cycle of abuse in violence against women and girls. Representatives from Voices of Experience will offer a survivor’s story and explain how a supportive system can help vulnerable women and girls.

A panel discussion featuring key front-line professionals and their role in supporting survivors of domestic violence will feature representatives from the Faculty of Sexual & Reproductive Healthcare, Royal College of Midwives, Royal College of Nursing, Royal College of Emergency Medicine, Royal College of Psychiatrists and Royal College of GPs.

The afternoon session will be an interactive workshop including live scenarios with actors where attendees have the opportunity to identify best practice when dealing with domestic violence.

The conference aims to enhance understanding of the extent and impact of violence against women and girls. Delegates will leave with a practical toolkit to help identify the signs of domestic violence and provide a step-by-step guide on how to better understand the issues and provide help to those affected.

Professor Lesley Regan, RCOG Vice President for Strategic Development at the RCOG said:

“Domestic violence is a complex problem and the cause of considerable hidden misery in our society. The abuse may be physical, psychological, sexual, financial or emotional and gives rise to serious health problems. Several groups of women are particularly vulnerable. Thirty per cent of domestic violence begins or escalates during pregnancy and women with physical disability or mental illness are at greater risk of abuse.

“Victims have an increased need for health services and most frequently present to departments of emergency medicine, psychiatry, obstetrics and gynaecology. Healthcare professionals have an important role to play in tackling the problem and are often the first and only point of contact that the isolated and vulnerable victim reaches out to.

“Caring for victims of domestic abuse requires teamwork. All of us working in health and social services need to be trained to recognise the signs of domestic violence and abuse and know how to act and who to refer to, to ensure the woman’s safety.

“Any kind of violence or aggression against another individual is unacceptable. We all have a role to play in eradicating such behaviour. ”

Ends

For further information, please contact the RCOG Media and PR team on +44 20 7772 6300 or email pressoffice@rcog.org.uk

The event will be documented on our Storify page and you can follow us on Twitter for news on our event @RCObsGyn using the hashtags #IWD2014 #RCOG

For more information about the event, please visit our website.

For further information and advice about domestic violence: