Computing and Library Services - delivering an inspiring information environment

'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

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

[img] PDF
Restricted to Registered users only

Download (112kB)


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.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: UoA 40 (Social Work and Social Policy and Administration) © 2003 Blackwell Publishing Ltd
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HQ The family. Marriage. Woman
H Social Sciences > HN Social history and conditions. Social problems. Social reform
H Social Sciences > H Social Sciences (General)
Schools: School of Human and Health Sciences
School of Human and Health Sciences > Centre for Applied Childhood Studies
Related URLs:
References: Abbott P. & Sapsford R. (1990) Health visiting: Policing the family? In: P. Abbott & C. Wallace (Eds) The Sociology of the Caring Professions , pp. 120Ð152. The Falmer Press, Basingstoke. Bewley S., Friend J. & Mezey G. (Eds) (1997) Violence Against Women . Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists Press, London. Binney V., Harkell G. & Nixon J. (1981) Leaving Violent Men: A Study of Refuges and Housing for Battered Women . WomenÕs Aid Federation of England, Bristol. Bloor M. & McIntosh J. (1990) Surveillance and concealment: a comparison of techniques of client resistance in therapeutic communities and health visiting. In: S. Cunningham-Burley & N. McKegany (Eds) Readings in Medical Sociology , pp. 159Ð 181. Tavistock, London. British Medical Association (1998) Domestic Violence: A Health Care Issue. British Medical Association, London. Busfield J. (1996) Men, Women and Madness . MacMillan Press, Basingstoke. Coffey A. & Atkinson P. (1996) Making Sense of Qualitative Data . Sage Publications, Thousand Oaks, CA. Community Practitioners and Health Visitors Association (1998) Domestic Violence. The Role of the Community Nurse . Community Practitioners and Health Visitors Association, London. Department of Health (1999) Working Together to Safeguard Children . Department of Health, London. Department of Health (2000) Domestic Violence. A Resource Manual for Health Care Professionals . Department of Health, London. Department of Health (2001) Health Visitor Practice Development Resource Pack . Department of Health, London. Dobash R.E. & Dobash R.P. (1979) Violence Against Wives . The Free Press, New York, NY. Dobash R.E., Dobash R.P. & Cavanagh K. (1985) The contact between battered women and social and medical agencies. In: J. Pahl (Ed.) Private Violence and Public Policy . Routledge and Kegan Paul, London. Foucault M. (1979) Discipline and Punish . Vintage Books, New York, NY.Foucault M. (1984) The History of Sexuality , Vol. 1. An Introduction . Penguin, Harmondsworth. Frost M. (1999) Health visitorsÕ perceptions of domestic violence: the private nature of the problem. Journal of Advanced Nursing 30 , 589Ð596. Graham D.L.R., Rawlings E. & Rimini N. (1988) Survivors of terror: battered women, hostages and the Stockholm Syndrome. In: K. Yllo & M. Bograd (Eds) Feminist Perspectives on Wife Abuse , pp. 217Ð233. Sage Publications, Thousand Oaks, CA. Hague G., Malos E. & Dear W. (1996) Multi-agency Work and Domestic Violence. A National Study of Inter-agency Initiatives. The Policy Press, Bristol. Harwin N., Hague G. & Malos E. (Eds) (1999) The Multiagency Approach to Domestic Violence. New Opportunities, Old Challenges? . Whiting and Birch, London. Hester M., Pearson C. & Harwin N. (1998) Making an Impact: Children and Domestic Violence. A Reader . Department of Health, London. Home Office (1999) Living without Fear: An Integrated Approach to Tackling Violence Against Women . Home Office, London. Kelly L. (1994) The interconnectedness of domestic violence and child abuse: challenges for research, policy and practice. In: A. Mullender & R. Morley (Eds) Children Living with Domestic Violence: Putting MenÕs Abuse of Women on the Child Care Agenda , pp. 43Ð56. Whiting and Birch, London. Kelly L. & Radford J. (1991) ÔNothing really happenedÕ: the invalidation of womenÕs experience of sexual violence. Critical Social Policy 30 , 39Ð53. Mama A. (1989) The Hidden Struggle: Statutory and Voluntary Sector Responses to Violence against Black Women in the Home. London Race and Housing Research Unit, London. McNay L. (1992) Foucault and Feminism: Power, Gender and the Self . Polity Press, Cambridge. McWilliams M. & McKiernan J. (1993) Bringing It Out in the Open: Women and Domestic Violence in Northern Ireland . HMSO, Belfast. Mirlees-Black C. & Byron C. (1999) Domestic Violence: Findings from the BCS Self-Completion Questionnaire. Research Findings 86. Home Office Research Development and Statistics Directorate, London. Mooney J. (1993) The Hidden Figure: Domestic Violence in North London. Islington Council, London. Mullender A. (1996) Rethinking Domestic Violence. The Social Work and Probation Response . Routledge, London. Mullender A. & Morley R. (Eds) (1994) Children Living with Domestic Violence: Putting MenÕs Abuse of Women on the Child Care Agenda . Whiting and Birch, London. Nicolson P. (1990) Understanding postnatal depression: a mother-centred approach. Journal of Advanced Nursing 15 , 689Ð695. Pahl J. (1982) Men who assault their wives: What can health visitors do to help? Health Visitor 55 , 528Ð531. Pahl J. (Ed) (1985) Private Violence and Public Policy. The Needs of Battered Women and the Response of the Public Services . Routledge, London. Peckover S. (1998) Regulation and Resistance: An Analysis of the Practices of Health Visitors and Women Experiencing Domestic Violence. PhD Thesis, Department of Applied Social Studies, University of Warwick, Coventry. Peckover S. (2000) Domestic Violence: A Framework of Good Practice . Community Practitioners and Health Visitors Association, London. Peckover S. (2002a) Supporting and policing mothers: an analysis of the disciplinary practices of health visiting. Journal of Advanced Nursing 38 , 369Ð377. Peckover S. (2002b) Focusing upon children and men in situations of domestic violence: an analysis of the gendered nature of British health visiting. Health and Social Care in the Community 10 , 254Ð261. Peckover S., Marshall K. & Kendall S. (2001) Understanding Domestic Violence: A Training Pack for Community Practitioners. Community Practitioners and Health Visitors Association, London. Rai D.K. & Thiara R.K. (1997) Re-defining Spaces. The Needs of Black Women and Children in Refuge Support Services and Black Workers in WomenÕs Aid. WomenÕs Aid Federation of England, Bristol. Stanko E., Crisp D., Hale C. & Lutcraft H. (1998) Counting the Costs: Estimating the Impact of Domestic Violence in the London Borough of Hackney . ChildrenÕs Society, and Hackney Safer Cities, London. Ussher J. (1991) WomenÕs Madness: Misogyny or Mental Illness? Harvester Wheatsheaf, London. Weedon C. (1997) Feminist Practice and Post-structuralist Theory . Basil Blackwell, Oxford. Wilcox P. (2000) Lone motherhood: the impact on living standards of leaving a violent relationship. Social Policy and Administration 34, 176Ð190.
Depositing User: Sara Taylor
Date Deposited: 31 Aug 2007
Last Modified: 28 Aug 2021 23:30


Downloads per month over past year

Repository Staff Only: item control page

View Item View Item

University of Huddersfield, Queensgate, Huddersfield, HD1 3DH Copyright and Disclaimer All rights reserved ©