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Award-winning domestic abuse awareness campaign aims to help pregnant women

Release Date: 01-Mar-2016
The award winning domestic abuse campaign “it’s never ok” is to enter its second phase when it launches this week. It is aimed at pregnant women, aged 16 and over and highlights that domestic abuse doesn’t stop during pregnancy, and advises that midwives can offer support and guidance to those affected.
Domestic abuse doesn't stop if you're pregnant - find out how to get help

Domestic abuse doesn't stop if you're pregnant - find out how to get help

Cllr Viv Kendrick, Cabinet Member for Health, Wellbeing and Communities said: “The first phase of this domestic violence campaign was a big success, winning a Chartered Institute of PR Excellence Award in the ‘Public Sector Campaign’ category last year.

"More importantly, it resulted in over 3,500 visits to the council’s website directing victims to support and over 100 calls for help. All in all it was a great example of multi-agency working on such an important area and I hope that this next phase will have similar success in reaching people and changing lives.

"It’s important that people affected by abuse know where they can get support and help to break the cycle. The last thing any mum wants to do is to bring their child up in an abusive environment. It’s essential that people get help, speak out and know that there is someone out there who they can trust and turn to – please don’t suffer in silence”.

The campaign, which centres on an emotive film clip, will include website adverts on parent websites, social media activity and posters displayed across the district, all directing people to a website for help and support: www.kirklees.gov.uk/itsneverok

The Trust’s Head of midwifery, Anne-Marie Henshaw, said: “The Trust has a specialist domestic abuse midwife as this area of care for our mums is such an important one. The effects of domestic abuse on pregnant women can vary enormously. These can range from feelings of inadequacy to serious emotional and mental health problems. This is why all women are asked in pregnancy about domestic abuse, regardless of whether or not there are signs of abuse, or whether domestic abuse is suspected. The majority of women do not mind as it demonstrates that sensitive subjects are taken seriously. Midwives will ask at every antenatal visit, and the postnatal period. If, at first, a woman is reluctant to talk about it, over time a trusting relationship should develop with her named midwife and the woman may feel able to discuss the abuse. The midwife will assess her safety and refer to the relevant agencies to support her disclosure of domestic abuse”.

Rebecca Hirst, Director of Pennine Domestic Violence Group added “Domestic abuse during pregnancy is very common. Sadly over a third of domestic abuse begins when a woman is pregnant.
Women who are in a relationship/family environment which is abusive often report that the abuse they suffer increased during the pregnancy. This poses a much higher risk to mum and baby’s health.
In Kirklees we have a robust multi-agency approach to tackling the impact of domestic abuse. We work closely with our local health providers to identify and support women that are subjected to domestic abuse during pregnancy.

"Unfortunately, when a woman is pregnant there are additional barriers to leaving an abusive relationship. Therefore, it is vital we do not judge someone we know or suspect is being abused, and who is pregnant.

"It’s vital that we support her to seek help and advice through their midwife or other trusted person. There are specialist domestic abuse workers also available who can talk to the woman or to a third party on her behalf to discuss her situation. They will discuss what is available to protect both her and her unborn child and any other dependents.

"Everyone has the right to live free from abuse. It is essential that professionals and communities work together to support victims and address the behaviour of perpetrators – this campaign is a great example of how we can help to do this together.”

The campaign, led by Kirklees Council, is a partnership approach with Pennine Domestic Violence Group, West Yorkshire Police, NHS, Kirklees Neighbourhood Housing, Probation Services, Locala, Lifeline/On-TRAK, Community Partnerships, Kirklees College, Huddersfield of University and voluntary and community organisations.
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