Talking about domestic abuse: Crucial conversations for health visitors

Caroline Bradbury-Jones*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)


Domestic abuse is a serious problem across the world and it is considered a public health issue. Nurses play a crucial role in recognising and responding to domestic abuse but they sometimes lack confidence in dealing with the issue. In this article, two recently completed studies are used to extract lessons for health visiting practice. The first study investigated primary healthcare professionals' beliefs about domestic abuse. Many healthcare professionals were confident in dealing with domestic abuse. However, there was disinclination among some to discuss the issue. People who experience abuse rarely discuss it unless asked. So the study highlighted a potential dynamic of silence between health professionals and abused people in their care. The second study investigated student nurses and student midwives' experiences of learning about domestic abuse. The student nurses had learned less than the student midwives. They had not been taught about domestic abuse in university and many had not had the opportunity to learn about it in clinical placement. They reported reluctance among some mentors to discuss the issue with them, with a resulting silencing of the issue. Both of these studies have important lessons for health visiting practice regarding opening up crucial conversations about domestic abuse.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)40-43
Number of pages4
JournalCommunity Practitioner
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2015


  • Domestic abuse
  • Education
  • Health visitors
  • Nursing students
  • Public health

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Medicine


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