Improving the health care of women living with domestic abuse
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Improving the health care of women living with domestic abuse

Caroline Bradbury-Jones Postdoctoral research fellow, School of Nursing and Midwifery, University of Dundee
Fiona Duncan Gender-based violence nurse adviser, Auchterderran Centre, Fife
Thilo Kroll Reader, Social Dimensions of Health Institute, University of Dundee
Maxine Moy Consultant nurse, Dunfermline and West Fife Community Health Partnership, Dunfermline
Julie Taylor Head of strategy and development, NSPCC, Centre for Learning in Child Protection, Edinburgh

Aim To explore the healthcare experiences of women living with domestic abuse, specifically in relation to the primary care setting.

Method A qualitative study was undertaken in Scotland, comprising semi-structured interviews with 17 women who had experienced domestic abuse. Data were analysed using a thematic framework.

Findings Three themes were linked to women’s healthcare experiences: systems-based, interpersonal and psychological issues. Poor systems of communication sometimes fail abused women, and low self-esteem and fear of stigmatisation make it difficult for women to discuss abuse.

Conclusion Nurses in primary care settings can do much to support women who have experienced domestic abuse. Understanding the systems-based, interpersonal and psychological factors that influence women’s healthcare experiences may be a vital part of this process.

Nursing Standard. 25, 43, 35-40. doi: 10.7748/ns2011.


Peer review

This article has been subject to double blind peer review