FSRH, Royal Colleges, and charities urge the Government to prioritise healthcare response to domestic abuse

Posted 3 June 2020

Date: 03 Jun 2020

Type: Covid-19 (Coronavirus)

FSRH, along with fellow Royal colleges, charities, and health bodies have written to Health and Social Care Secretary Matt Hancock to call for more support for health and care professionals to identify signs of domestic abuse, and to signpost adult and child victims of domestic abuse to appropriate support services.

The letter states that there has been an increase in the number of domestic abuse victims and perpetrators seeking support during the COVID-19 pandemic, and that this is likely to continue as current lockdown measures are eased. It comes ahead of a meeting of the Domestic Abuse Bill Committee this week.

The letter calls for the following elements to be prioritised and fully funded alongside the Domestic Abuse Bill:

  • Funding for high-quality, specialist training of all healthcare professionals, including online resources that can be easily accessed during the current crisis
  • Provision of specialist domestic abuse services co-located in GP, acute and mental health settings with sustainably funded support for child and adult support services 
  • An increase in funded quality-assured programmes for health professionals to refer perpetrators into underpinned by research and evidence 
  • A long-term public health campaign to challenge public attitudes to domestic abuse
  • Representation from mental health services on the Domestic Abuse Commissioner’s advisory panel, in addition to the wider health service representation. 

The letter was signed by the following health bodies, charities, and Royal Colleges:

- Professor Martin Marshall, Chair, Royal College of General Practitioners
- Suzanne Jacob, CEO SafeLives
- Nicki Norman, Acting Chief Executive, Women's Aid Federation of England
- Medina Johnson, CEO, IRISi
- Donna Covey CBE, CEO, AVA
- Sarah Green, Director, End Violence Against Women Coalition
- Ruth Bashall, CEO, Stay Safe East (Supporting disabled survivors)
- Nik Noone, CEO, Galop; Jemima Olchawski, CEO, Agenda
- Dr Edward Morris, President, Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists
- Professor Wendy Burn, President, Royal College of Psychiatrists
- Gill Walton, Chief Executive Officer, Royal College of Midwives
- Dr Margaret M Stark, President, Faculty of Forensic & Legal Medicine
- Gudrun Burnet, CEO, Standing Together Against Domestic Violence
- Professor Gene Feder, Bristol Medical School, University of Bristol
- Professor Andrew Goddard, President, Royal College of Physicians
- Dr Helena McKeown, BMA Chair of Representative Body
- Dame Donna Kinnair, Chief Executive and General Secretary, Royal College of Nursing
- Dr Asha Kasliwal President, Faculty Sexual Reproductive Healthcare
- Sam Thompson, Senior Lecturer in Paramedic Science, College of Paramedics
- Dr John McSorley, President, British Association for Sexual Health & HIV (BASHH)
- Kyla Kirkpatrick, Director, DRIVE
- Mark Brooks, Chairman, The ManKind Initiative
- Dr Charlotte Cohen, Chelsea & Westminster Hospital NHS Foundation Trust 

To read the full letter, click here.