Graphic Logo for COSC depicting a harp and text

The National Office for the Prevention of Domestic, Sexual and Gender-based Violence.

An Oifig Náisiúnta um Fhoréigean Baile, Gnéasach agus Inscnebhunaithe a Chosc

  1. Irish College of General Practitioners: - Domestic Violence During Pregnancy – GP Survey Report

Irish College of General Practitioners: - Domestic Violence During Pregnancy – GP Survey Report

This survey was conducted by the Irish College of General Practitioners (ICGP) and funded by Cosc with input from the HSE Social Inclusion as part of a project whose aim was to raise awareness and increase the recognition of domestic violence against women during pregnancy at primary care level.

Specifically, the objectives of this survey were:

  • To assess the awareness levels of General Practitioners (GPs) regarding the prevalence of domestic violence during pregnancy
  • To assess current practice amongst GPs with regard to identifying domestic violence during pregnancy
  • To identify GP knowledge gaps and related learning needs in relation to domestic violence during pregnancy
  • To establish GP attitudes and barriers to identifying and discussing with pregnant patients domestic violence during pregnancy.

The key findings

  • Of those surveyed, 63% had never asked a pregnant woman about domestic violence and 99% of respondents never routinely ask pregnant women about domestic violence.
  • Almost 20% of GPs had treated between one and five women who disclosed instances of domestic abuse during their pregnancy, either spontaneously or as a result of GP questioning.
  • Just over half of respondents noted improved outcomes for their patient following intervention, while 47% who had intervened noted no change in their patient’s circumstances.
  • The majority of respondents (84%) had completed no training or education in managing domestic violence at undergraduate level, during the course of their GP training (57%) or during their continuing medical education (76%).
  • Approximately 65% of respondents were unaware of any guidance document for GPs on the subject of domestic violence.
  • The vast majority of respondents indicated that they would welcome further education in the area of domestic violence during pregnancy.
  • A large portion (63%) of respondents agreed that additional resources would be helpful for improved management of cases in general practice. 

Recommendations

Concrete recommendations are made in the report specifically related to guideline awareness and education based on the key findings, which suggest a need for:

  • Increased GP clinical knowledge of domestic violence during pregnancy.
  • Improved GPs’ confidence in addressing domestic violence during pregnancy with their patients.
  • Further promotion of the ICGP Domestic Violence: a guide for general practice Quick Reference Guide (2014).
  • Further education on, but not limited to:
  • Signs and symptoms of domestic violence during pregnancy.
  • Appropriate referral options for women who disclose.
  • How to respond to a disclosure of domestic violence during pregnancy.
  • Legal issues and reporting requirements.

 

The ICGP and relevant parties will consider these findings and what actions need to be taken from this report.