The hidden experience of violence during pregnancy: A study of 400 pregnant Australian women

Walsh, Deborah (2008) The hidden experience of violence during pregnancy: A study of 400 pregnant Australian women. Australian Journal of Primary Health, 14 1: 97-105. doi:10.1071/PY08013

Author Walsh, Deborah
Title The hidden experience of violence during pregnancy: A study of 400 pregnant Australian women
Journal name Australian Journal of Primary Health   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 1448-7527
Publication date 2008-04-01
Year available 2008
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1071/PY08013
Open Access Status
Volume 14
Issue 1
Start page 97
End page 105
Total pages 9
Editor Libby Kalucy
Rae Walker
Place of publication Collingwood, VIC, Australia
Publisher CSIRO Publishing
Language eng
Subject C1
920507 Women's Health
929999 Health not elsewhere classified
111707 Family Care
111717 Primary Health Care
160701 Clinical Social Work Practice
169901 Gender Specific Studies
Abstract This article will report on the results of research into violence experienced by women during pregnancy, undertaken at a large public tertiary obstetric hospital in Australia. Participants in the research included 400 women from diverse backgrounds, recruited from the Royal Womens Hospital Antenatal clinic in Melbourne. The methodology for the research included a structured interview framework into which was incorporated a modified version of the Abusive Behaviour Inventory (ABI). The instrument measured both physical and psychological abuse indicators. The study found that 20% (n=80) of women interviewed reported experiencing violence during their pregnancy and that they did not disclose this to their health care professionals, thus suffering the abuse in silence. An increase in physical violence was reported by 6% (n=25); however, the majority of women reported that the level of violence and abuse remained the same throughout the pregnancy. It was found that a range of abusive behaviours were reported by the women interviewed, which resulted in three very distinct profile groups emerging from the data. A greater awareness of the prevalence of this phenomenon in the peri-natal population, together with ongoing access to research in this area, will benefit health care professionals in developing sensitive practice strategies for working with women affected by violence during pregnancy. Through a deeper understanding of associated issues, practitioners can work towards creating an environment where women feel safe enough to break their silence and be confident that their disclosures will be responded to appropriately without pressure to leave the relationship.
Keyword domestic violence
violence against women
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Confirmed Code
Institutional Status UQ

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
Collections: 2009 Higher Education Research Data Collection
School of Nursing, Midwifery and Social Work Publications
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Citation counts: TR Web of Science Citation Count  Cited 10 times in Thomson Reuters Web of Science Article | Citations
Scopus Citation Count Cited 11 times in Scopus Article | Citations
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Created: Fri, 17 Apr 2009, 11:38:11 EST by Elena Stewart on behalf of School of Social Work and Human Services