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WTUC 2014: Steward says physiotherapy staff need better awareness of domestic violence

20 March 2014 - 11:58am

Many NHS staff have a ‘gap in knowledge’ about domestic violence, despite official recommendations that all frontline health workers should be trained to recognise it and help victims to get support.

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Violence: Kim Gainsborough said NICE recommends staff are trained to recognise domestic abuse. Photo: Janina Struk

That was the message from Kim Gainsborough, CSP regional steward for East of England at the TUC women's conference. She said midwives and accident and emergency staff have a good awareness of domestic violence which is lacking among many physiotherapy staff.

She was speaking in support of a motion on domestic violence, which said that one in four women in the UK are the victims of such abuse.

‘I’m dismayed that, at a time when the number of women needing help is growing, there is less and less help available,’ she said.

She encouraged health staff to read the new NICE guidance to ensure they are able to recognise the signs and provide the best possible support.

Ms Gainsborough also supported a motion ‘breast is best’, which said that only 35 per cent of mothers in the UK breastfeed for up to six months and called for more breast feeding counsellors.

She told the conference that in her role as a women’s health physio she saw many women with breastfeeding problems. ‘NHS staff shortages mean that women who are struggling to breast feed successfully are not getting the support they need,’ she said.

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