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Midwives leading the way in reducing domestic violence during pregnancy

Photo: Midwives leading the way in reducing domestic violence during pregnancy
Improving how midwives can lead the way in reducing domestic violence during pregnancy - This is just one of the Griffith University School of Nursing and Midwifery good news studies up for discussion at the upcoming International Confederation of Midwives Triennial Congress.

To be held in Toronto, Canada, on 18-22 June, the Congress represents and works to strengthen professional associations of midwives throughout the world and represents 114 countries.

Dr Kathleen Baird from Griffith’s Menzies Health Institute Queensland will discuss the training that has been implemented with midwives from the Logan, Redland and Gold Coast areas, to promote antenatal enquiry and effectively reduce the incidence of domestic violence in this group of women.

The study showed that following a full day training workshop, 93 per cent of the participating midwives reported improved confidence to undertake routine enquiry.
“We know that in Australia between one and two women a week continue to be murdered and within Queensland alone from 2006 to 2016, 246 women, men and children have been killed by a family member or by a person they had or have been in an intimate relationship with. Females are over-represented as victims with a ratio of 4:1 – so there is still much to be achieved.

“Only with people talking about the DFV and governments acting will we continue to see change. In Queensland, we currently have a Government committed to addressing this issue as well as promoting an integrated response,” says Dr Baird.

Currently, Dr Baird is busy putting into place some of the health recommendations that she made to the 2015 ‘Not Now Not Ever’ Report which was led by The Honourable Quentin Bryce AD CVO.

“Broadly speaking we advocated for two things in relation to midwifery: routine enquiry in every antenatal clinics which can support women in or at risk of a DFV situation and also for DFV specialist training for midwives, GPs and other professionals working within the health sector in order that they can respond effectively and safely in supporting women and their families.

“We are now at the point of ensuring these things are being implemented at the Gold Coast University Hospital with the appointment of the new Domestic Violence Specialist

Worker Hospital and I am also pleased to say that Queensland Health have supported a comprehensive training package which provides both online and face to face training, as well as ‘train the trainer’ sessions for midwives and senior clinicians.”

Other research to be presented at the Congress will come from Professor Jenny Gamble who has led a study looking at training midwives to improve women’s mental health.

“Following training and support, we found that midwives’ knowledge, skill and confidence increased and that trained midwives improved women’s mental health,” she says. “The main barrier to routine use of this evidence-based counselling was a fragmented, shift-based work pattern of midwives. Improving women’s access to a known midwife may help.”

Meanwhile, Griffith’s Dr Roz Donnellan-Fernandez will discuss the critical issues of public health for maternity services in South Australia.

For the full list of speakers at the Congress please visit: http://www.midwives2017.org/congress-schedule

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