Policy Press

Domestic violence and health

The response of the medical profession

By Emma Williamson


Dec 13, 2000

Page count

228 pages




234 x 156 mm


Policy Press
Domestic violence and health

Domestic violence and health is one of the first indepth studies within Britain to explore the issue of healthcare professionals' attitudes towards women who are victims of domestic violence. There is a growing interest by healthcare professionals and researchers about the role of healthcare professionals in relation to domestic violence.

This book looks at the health experiences of women who are victims of domestic violence and the responses to such injuries by healthcare professionals. The author presents the results of an indepth qualitative study, conducted within Britain, examining domestic violence and health. Women who are treated medically without any acknowledgement of the social, personal and psychological aspects of their condition, are likely to re-present with domestic violence-related injuries.

The book includes chapters that look at:

current interest both nationally and internationally;

why women access health services;

an examination of the physical and non-physical effects of domestic violence;

the range of treatment options currently favoured by healthcare professionals and the response of patients to them;

differentiations in practice between different health professionals;

the impact of domestic violence as a social issue on trends in medical training.

These issues are considered in light of debates about medicalisation, the function of the sick role, and both biomedical/wound-led, and holistic/person-led approaches to health provision. Key findings are highlighted, and the author provides recommendations for good practice.

Domestic violence and health is essential reading for public health administrators and policy makers, healthcare professionals and feminist researchers, activists and advocates.

"This important work is of immense practical value to those who work within health, and marks the important and essential role of the medical profession in dealing with domestic violence. I recommend this report to those readers who seek to know more of women's treatment experiences." Social Work Review

"... a unique and thorough resource for any UK healthcare professional or reseacher involved in the field ... a 'must-read'." Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology

"... a valuable resource for teaching on healthcare and medical courses and will also be of interest to those concerned with research and policy on this important topic."

Sociology of Health and Ilness

"This is essential reading for those involved in training all health professionals, for their managers, and for those who remain reluctant to address the issues. If this reluctance extends to reading a whole book on the subject, the excellent summaries at the end of each section provide the key points healthcare professionals need to address to improve the service they offer to women who experience domestic violence." June Thompson, Health Service Journal

"There is a great gap in our understanding of how the work of health professionals can contribute to the well-being of those who experience domestic violence. This study is a contribution to closing that gap. Williamson's work demonstrates the need for health professionals to be sensitive to those who may (or who may wish to) disclose the pain of domestic violence." Betsy Stanko, Royal Holloway University of London

"This book will help you to gain a clearer insight into the true nature of domestic violence as a health issue. You could be saving a life - or two or three." Health Matters

Emma Williamson is a Wellcome Research Fellow in the Centre for Medical Ethics, University of Bristol.

Introduction; Domestic violence and the medical profession.

Part One: Domestic violence patients speak out: Physical and non-physical injuries; Treatment experiences; Wider experiences of help seeking; Summary to Part One.

Part Two: Clinicians' knowledge and clinical experience of domestic violence: Definitions of domestic violence; Explanations of causes; Physical versus non-physical injuries; Treatment options; Documentation and naming; Summary to Part Two.

Part Three: Clinicians' training and inter-agency collaboration: Intra-professional collaboration and communication; Wider multi-agency collaborations; Training; Summary to Part Three.


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