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Colleagues can help after report reveals nurses suffer high levels of domestic abuse

25 October 2016

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Practice managers should looking out for signs of domestic violence after a report  by a nursing charity revealed nurses are three times more likely to be sufferers.

The Cavell Nurses’ Trust report Skint, shaken, yet still caring found that one in seven nurses it surveyed experienced domestic violence  at the hands of partners or ex partners in the last year and one in 50 were injured as well.

Former mental health nurse Claire Richards, from NCSPVA’s Institute of Health and Society said: “The values that nurses adhere to in their career – including the six Cs of nursing – care, compassion, competence, communication, courage, commitment – may increase the likelihood of  them  staying with an abusive partner for reasons of altruism or a possible belief their partner needs them.”

She added: “I think this report is a big wake up call for the NHS.”

She said practice managers can help if they are worried a colleague is affected and living with “fear and trauma”.

Ms Richards said: “It may be difficult to detect that a colleague is living with domestic abuse. Signs could be absence, sicknesses, coming in late or going home late or efforts to disguise bruising. It may be that they are anxious.”

She said colleagues could open a discreet conversation by saying ‘I’ve just noticed this.’

“It’s being kind and compassionate.”

Concerned staff could also find out what resources are available and be aware that colleagues could be feeling very vulnerable.

It is important managers “send out the message that it’s ok to discuss it and seek help” she said.

The report’s other findings highlight the financial hardship faced by nurses.

It said they are nearly twice as likely as the average person to be unable to afford basic necessities.

One in five said they  skipped meals in the last year because of money problems.

Half the nurses questioned said they could not afford to replace worn out furniture and 44 per cent said they could not afford to save even £20 a month.

Two in every five nurses also had a physical or mental health condition expected to last more than a year, the research found.