International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women

News article 25 Nov 2016

Violence against women is an international public health concern and is an abuse of women rights. Violence against women has been highlighted in the Sustainable Development Goal number 5: to achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls, with specific targets to end all forms of discrimination (5.1) to eliminate all forms of violence (5.2) against all women and girls.

Domestic violence (DV) is pandemic affecting all countries, and it crosses all types of boundaries, cultures, religions, socioeconomic levels, and ages.  The World Health Organization estimate that worldwide one in three women suffer violence during their lifetime.

Whilst the underlying risks factors associated with DV are well documented and understood, DV is still concerned a taboo and sensitive subject in many countries, resulting in a hidden burden of  ill-health in women, especially those living in low and middle income countries.  It is recognised that DV can often first occur, and increase in frequency and severity for women during and after pregnancy.

CMNH have conducted several research projects aiming to improve the quality of care women who report DV during and after pregnancy receive in low and middle income countries.

CMNH are leading research into the measurement and understanding of maternal morbidity, not only to prevent maternal death but to improve women’s overall health and well-being during and after pregnancy.  Dr Mary McCauley has recently led a research project along with the CMNH team to assess maternal morbidity in India, Pakistan, Malawi and Kenya.

As part of this assessment 11,454 women were screened for DV during and after pregnancy, with 1 in 4 women reporting DV.

Furthermore, Dr Mary McCauley has also supervised two Master students to complete their dissertations each exploring different aspects of DV.

  1. Jennifer Head: Healthcare providers’ knowledge, attitudes and perceptions of domestic violence and barriers to providing quality of care for women during and after pregnancy in Pakistan.
  2. Dr Musa Abdullahi: Domestic violence during pregnancy in Jamaica: secondary data analysis of a national study.