Department of Health

Website of the Department of Health

Please note that this website has a UK goverment accesskeys system.

Main menu

Responding to domestic abuse: A handbook for health professionals

This handbook gives practical guidance to healthcare professionals on working with patients who may have experienced or are experiencing domestic abuse.

Even though much domestic abuse occurs within the privacy of personal relationships, it is far from being a private issue. Occurring in all parts of society, it accounts for 25 percent of violent crime and costs the taxpayer billions of pounds every year - £3.1 billion in England and Wales in 2004. However, the greatest cost is to the women and children from all social backgrounds who deal with its effects on their lives on a day-to-day basis, even long after they have escaped abuse. Many cases of domestic abuse start during pregnancy.

Contained within the handbook is an action plan following recommendations by the Domestic Abuse and Pregnancy Advisory Group set up during 2005. The action plan includes information on how health services can meet the needs of pregnant women who may be experiencing abuse and has informed this handbook helping to shape future policy.

As well as covering work with women, the handbook covers the basic information that healthcare professionals will need to know to respond effectively to children who have experienced or are experiencing domestic abuse.

Additional links

Ordering publications

Contact details for obtaining hard-copy DH publications.

Help viewing PDFs

Help viewing PDFs

To view any file in Portable Document Format (PDF) downloaded from this site, you need the Adobe Acrobat Reader program.

Additional Links

Access keys