Journal article

How do health practitioners in a large Australian public hospital identify and respond to reproductive abuse? A qualitative study

Public hospitals Patients Women's health Reproductive health Pregnancy Violence against women Australia
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DOI: 10.1111/1753-6405.12923 71.8 KB
Description

Abstract:

Objective: Reproductive abuse is defined as a deliberate attempt to control or interfere with a woman’s reproductive choices. It is associated with a range of negative health outcomes and presents a hidden challenge for health practitioners. There is a dearth of research on reproductive abuse, particularly qualitative research. This study aims to address this gap by exploring how health practitioners in a large Australian public hospital identify and respond to reproductive abuse.

Methods: We conducted semi‐structured interviews with n=17 health practitioners working across multiple disciplines within a large metropolitan public hospital in Victoria. Data were analysed thematically.

Results: Three themes were developed: Figuring out that something is wrong; Creating a safe space to work out what she wants; and Everyone needs to do their part.

Conclusions: Practitioners relied on intuition developed through experience to identify reproductive abuse. Once identified, most practitioners described a woman‐led response promoting safety; however, there were inconsistencies in how this was enacted across different professions. Lack of clarity around the level of response required was also a barrier.

Implications for public health: Our findings highlight the pressing need for evidence‐based guidelines for health practitioners and a ‘best practice’ model specific to reproductive abuse.

Publication Details
Publication Year:
2019