The Royal College of Nursing (RCN) has published a position statement on Domestic abuse, encouraging more support for staff working with patients who have experienced domestic abuse.

Domestic abuse describes a range of behaviour from verbal abuse and manipulative behaviour to physical assault and homicide. At least two million adults in the year leading up to March 2016 were affected by domestic abuse, and it is estimated that a fifth of children have been exposed to domestic abuse.

The statement sets out the RCN’s goal to increase the level of understanding that nurses and midwives have about their role and responsibility in responding to cases of domestic abuse. A pocket guide on domestic abuse was also released earlier in the year, detailing the methods nurses and midwives can use to identify potential abuse and how they may want to respond to certain situations.

Carmel Bagness, RCN Professional Lead for Midwifery and Women’s Health, said, “Domestic abuse is a is a highly complex issue and nursing and midwifery staff have a significant role to play. From health visitors to A&E nurses, all nursing staff need to be prepared to identify and help victims of domestic abuse whether they are male or female, adult or child.”