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ANMF (Vic Branch) members to be surveyed on family violence

ANMF (Vic Branch) members to be surveyed on family violence

Elizabeth McLindon, University of Melbourne researcher

The ANMF (Vic Branch) and University of Melbourne researchers will survey our members to find out the extent of their experience of family violence and sexual assault.

While nurses and midwives may hear about patients’ experiences of family violence and sexual assault researchers say there has been little inquiry into these professionals’ own experiences, and their support needs.

With screening for family violence in Victorian antenatal hospitals and maternal and child health nurse consultations, an important survey outcome will be understanding how many nurses, midwives and carers may need support themselves.

The ‘Health, wellbeing and relationships’ survey is expected to deliver the most accurate understanding of family violence prevalence and its impacts for nurses, midwives and carers in the Australian community.

The two-year survey project will be run by University of Melbourne researchers Elizabeth McLindon, a social worker/counsellor who is nearing the end of a PhD investigating the prevalence and impact of family violence among Australian health professionals; Professor Kelsey Hegarty, a doctor and international leader in family violence research; and Dr Kristin Diemer, a sociologist and Senior Research Fellow in the School of Health Sciences.

It will deliver insight into the prevalence of both victim/survivors and perpetrators of family violence, as well as impacts of family violence and sexual assault, and pathways of support.

ANMF is funding the research, which will also inform us about how we and the Andrews Government-funded Nursing & Midwifery Health Program Victoria can best assist members who have experienced family violence or sexual assault.

The ANMF/University of Melbourne survey will be voluntary and confidential. It will ask questions about experiences of disclosing family violence in the workplace and workplace supports accessed, including family violence leave.

Recent research by Ms McLindon, Prof. Hegarty and Prof. Cathy Humphreys involving 471 female nurses, midwives, doctors and allied health professionals at a tertiary maternity hospital found that a higher percentage than the general community had experienced violence from a partner and that 45.2 per cent had experienced violence from a partner or family member.

A British survey of more than 2,250 nurses found that in the previous year, 12.2 per cent had experienced non-physical abuse from a partner and three per cent had been physically abused – higher rates than the UK general community.

The survey project is expected to begin in February 2019.