HC Deb 05 March 2003 vol 400 c1108W
Margaret Moran

To ask the Secretary of State for Health what steps he is taking to(a) raise awareness of domestic violence in the health profession and (b) provide health services and counselling for victims of domestic violence. [97749]

Ms Blears

The Department of Health published Domestic Violence: A Resource Manual for Health Care Professionals in March 2000. The resource manual provides a solid foundation for local multi-agency work and supports health care professionals and managers in developing their domestic violence policies, protocols and services to ensure victims receive the support they need. The Department is providing funding under the Section 64 Scheme to the Women's Aid Federation of England (WAFE) for their health and domestic violence project to help implement the resource manual in the national health service. As part of this project, WAFE has also published a directory of new health and domestic violence initiatives and undertaken a range of activities to raise awareness of domestic violence among health professionals.

The Government remains absolutely committed to tackling domestic violence, a serious and abhorrent crime and has set up a Ministerial Group working across Government to provide co-ordinated and concerted action on this issue at the highest level. One of the key areas of the Group's work is to develop early and effective health care interventions. As 30 per cent) of domestic violence is known to start in pregnancy and existing abuse often escalates at that time, the initial focus for this work is in maternity care. The Department of Health is funding an innovative study at the University of the West of England and North Bristol NHS Trust to pilot routine ante-natal questioning about domestic violence. Outcomes from the Bristol pilot will inform the future provision of NHS maternity services.

1Confidential Enquiries into Maternal Deaths in the United Kingdom 1997–99

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