What is domestic abuse?
The 2013 home office definition of domestic abuse is:
HM Government ‘Ending violence against women and girls in the UK’
“Any incident or pattern of incidents of controlling, coercive or threatening behaviour, violence or abuse between those aged 16 or over who are or have been intimate partners or family members regardless of gender or sexuality. This can encompass, but is not limited to, the following types of abuse: psychological, physical, sexual, financial, emotional. This definition includes so called 'honour’ based violence, female genital mutilation (FGM) and forced marriage.
Controlling behaviour is: a range of acts designed to make a person subordinate and/or dependent by isolating them from sources of support, exploiting their resources and capacities for personal gain, depriving them of the means needed for independence, resistance and escape and regulating their everyday behaviour.
Coercive behaviour is: an act or a pattern of acts of assault, threats, humiliation and intimidation or other abuse that is used to harm, punish, or frighten their victim.”
Research shows that households experiencing Domestic Abuse have between 3 and 8 times more contact with health professionals than those living without abuse.
As well as being an abuse of human rights Domestic Abuse can have devastating health consequences with an estimated annual healthcare cost of £1.4 billion (2004). Due to the long-term health consequences for people who have experienced Domestic Abuse and for their children who witness the overt violence and coercion the Royal College of General Practitioners has made it a Clinical Priority for 2011 – 2014.
Sheffield Clinical Commissioning Group continues to recognise the important role of GPs in relation to victims of domestic abuse and their families and that appropriate training, guidance and support is provided including how to identify the risk factors associated with perpetrator behaviour.
NHS Sheffield CCG is working with Sheffield Domestic Abuse Partnership to improve the identification and support for victims of Domestic Abuse accessing healthcare services. With appropriate training, specific referral pathways and on-going support for NHS staff the aim is to provide a positive experience for domestic abuse victims who turn to healthcare professionals for help.
When relationship difficulties have been disclosed, many professionals might suggest referral to relationship counselling. However, in cases where domestic abuse is known, it has been shown that involvement of relationship counselling (such as Relate) can exacerbate the situation and a referral to domestic abuse services would be more appropriate. Nottingham Relate provide further information re this, that can be accessed at: Nottinghamshire Relate
Domestic Homicide Reviews
The CCG participates in DHR’s and works in partnership with the Local Authority and other key agencies to ensure all cases are reviewed and lessons learned. We also have a responsibility to ensure that cases are reviewed from the perspective of General Practice and improvements are made to practice following case reviews.