Project

Domestic and Family Violence

Domestic and family violence affects over a third of women globally. For many women, domestic and family violence (DFV) may commence or escalate during pregnancy. Therefore, the maternity service response to DFV is critical to the well-being of women and their unborn/newborn babies.  While progress has been made towards addressing identified gaps, several significant challenges still remain.

Study 1 – Women’s Experiences of domestic and family violence screening during pregnancy

There has been growing research on women’s attitudes and beliefs about DFV screening, but relatively few studies on women’s experiences of screening during pregnancy. The aim of this study is to determine pregnant women’s experiences of DFV screening by midwives. Pregnant women (n = 210) attending an antenatal service were surveyed about their experiences of screening and asked to complete three new measures: Beliefs about DFV Screening; Non-disclosure of DFV; and Midwifery Support.

Lead: Associate Professor Kathleen Baird
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Study 2 – Women’s experiences of maternity care in responding to domestic and family violence using a Trauma and Violence Informed Care Framework

Women are at greater risk of experiencing violence from an intimate partner during pregnancy and the post-partum period, with 1 – 6 experiencing violence. Using a trauma informed and violence framework this qualitative study will examine women’s experiences of a large tertiary maternity care services in detecting and responding to domestic and family violence.

Lead: Associate Professor Kathleen Baird
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Study 3 – Domestic and Family Violence in Maternity Care: Applying a Trauma and Violence Informed Care Framework

This research builds on our recent work by taking a ‘step back’ to systematically reassess and identify how and why DFV response work gets done in our maternity services, how women and clinicians experience DFV assessment and responses, and the related costs incurred.

The mixed methods project will use a recently developed Trauma and Violence Informed Care (TVIC) framework that has four interrelated and connected pillars, including relationship building, integrated coordinated care, reflective systems and continual assessment of work environment.

Working within these pillars will help guide data collection and analysis.  The evidence gained from this project will provide an enhanced strategic oversight of how we can better optimise and sustain an integrated staff response to DVF, ensuring service delivery is woman-centred and aligns to best practice.

Lead: Associate Professor Kathleen Baird
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Study 4 – Exploring staff detection and response to Domestic and Family Violence in Clinical Practice

Routine enquiry about Domestic & Family Violence (DFV) during pregnancy has been implemented by many health services in Australia but often without comprehensive staff training, system changes and referral processes.

This study (Breaking the Silence) explores the experiences of midwives and other health care clinicians working within the maternity services around DFV assessment and responses.  All staff working within maternity services will be invited to complete an online anonymous survey. The survey will seek to determine the barriers to responsibilities and referral pathways and define the barriers to identifying and supporting women who are experiencing DFV.

Lead: Associate Professor Kathleen Baird
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Study 5 –  What are the service costs associated with DFV in the childbearing population?

Domestic and family violence (DFV) can have a severe and enduring effect on a woman’s physical and mental health.  Using a burden of disease methodology, domestic violence was found to be the leading risk factor contributing to death, disability and illness in women aged 25 to 44 years.

Due to the hidden nature of DFV, there is a lack of financial data for disease burden.  Using a cost analysis of hospital activity, this study will focus on understanding the costs associated with DFV in pregnancy. An economic model will be developed which will calculate the cost burden associated with DFV including injury, and ongoing medical costs.

Lead: Associate Professor Emily Callander
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