When home is not safe

Laurie Mahoney reports that nurses can facilitate disclosure of domestic violence.

Many New Zealand women report suffering intimate partner violence, physical and/or emotional, during their lifetime. Women in rural areas are at greater risk of being victims. Rural women also have greater obstacles to dealing with the issue, due to factors such as stronger cultural gender roles, fear of gossip in a small community, physical isolation and inequitable access to health services.

Senior Lecturer Laurie Mahoney examined research into the role of nurses with respect to disclosure of domestic violence. Some women report that they welcome being asked about it by a nurse, as this creates an environment for them to speak. Organisational guidelines, and knowing what to do when a disclosure is made, help nurses to enquire about violence. Nurses can also find it easier to ask when they are meeting clients in their own home.

Laurie therefore encourages nurses providing services in the home in rural areas to be particularly conscious of the possibility of intimate partner violence and to ask clients about their relationships.

May 2018

Image credit: Rebecca Partington, used under Creative Commons licence CC BY SA 2.0