Peckover, Sue (2003) 'I could have just done with a little more help': an analysis of women's help-seeking from health visitors in the context of domestic violence. Health and Social Care in the Community, 11 (3). pp. 275-282. ISSN 0966-0410

Domestic violence is a serious issue that adversely affects large numbers of
women and children. Despite having an adverse impact upon health and
welfare, women experiencing domestic violence face a number of difficulties
seeking help about their situation from statutory health and welfare
agencies. The present paper is based upon a study of British health visiting
in relation to women experiencing domestic violence. Drawing upon
interview data from 16 women who experienced domestic violence and
were the mothers of small children, this paper explores their accounts
of contact with the health visiting service. All of the 16 women who
participated in this research described difficulties in seeking help about
domestic violence. These included practical concerns such as fears for their
own safety, lack of knowledge regarding appropriate sources of support and
protection, and concerns about losing custody of their children. Given these
concerns, some women concealed their experiences of domestic violence
from their health visitors. For those who disclosed the domestic violence to
their health visitors, they did not always receive appropriate support or
protection. Of particular concern was the absence of information about
accessing more specialist services. The research findings suggest that there
is considerable scope for practice development in order to ensure that
women experiencing domestic violence are able to receive safe and
appropriate responses from health visitors.

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