New guidance to raise awareness of Domestic Violence

The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) has recommended that doctors and nurses should receive special training to recognise the signs of domestic violence. In its new report, NICE says its recommendations should act as a ‘wake-up call’ to the levels of domestic violence both women and men are experiencing.

It’s thought that around 1.2 million women and 784,000 men in England and Wales are victims of domestic violence every year, and that one in three women and almost one in five men will experience domestic violence at some point. However, it’s also thought that many cases go unreported, with victims too afraid of their attacker to go to the police or social services.

Research suggests that domestic violence costs the UK around £15.7billion each year, including healthcare, criminal justice costs, social services and refuge costs as well as working days lost due to domestic violence injuries.

NICE has recommended that doctors and nurses need to be trained to spot the signs, ask about abuse and encourage patients to seek specialist help.

The guidance says: “Health and social care service managers and professionals should ensure front-line staff in all services are trained to recognise the indicators of domestic violence and abuse and can ask relevant questions to help people disclose their past or current experiences of such violence or abuse.

“The inquiry should be made in private on a one-to-one basis in an environment where the person feels safe, and in a kind, sensitive manner.”

Dr Adrian Boyle, accident and emergency physician at Addenbrookes Hospital in Cambridge, said: “In emergency departments, we see a lot of patients who are experiencing domestic violence, including those who don’t feel able to tell us what is happening to them.

“At the moment there is no requirement for staff to be trained, but what this new guidance recommends is that all staff should be trained to respond well to patients who chose to confide what is happening to them.”

If you are experiencing domestic violence within your marriage or partnership, you can talk to us in complete confidence about the legal steps you can take to bring your abuser to justice and to legally end your relationship. As Family Law specialists we will handle your case with sensitivity and provide the proper advice and guidance you need. Please contact us in confidence for a free 20 minute consultation on 0845 548 1007.