Victims of sexual abuse

pregnant,women, black clothing


Care during the perinatal period for women who are victims of sexual abuse - Guidance for professionals

The Maternity Improvement Forum has developed short guidance for practitioners in the maternity team to support them in caring for women who have been the victims of sexual abuse.

This project was developed from a professional story.

Women often conceal the fact that they are or have been victims of sexual abuse. For many reasons, however, the woman may disclose this during the perinatal period.  A midwife who had cared for women who had been sexually abused shared her experiences at a meeting of the maternity improvement forum. She noted how unexpected the disclosures were. It was agreed that guidance would help members of the maternity team prepare for and respond to such a disclosure. This guidance is simple, and can be printed for circulation locally.

Literature Summary

In order to map what information was already in the public domain, the working group commissioned a literature search from our knowledge services at NHS QIS. A working group, on behalf of the maternity improvement forum, agreed the search terms and the findings were subsequently systematised.

The Process

The literature search established that there was already a body of literature in academic and relevant professional journals on the subject. In addition the working group had their professional experience on which to draw as well as published case studies. The group agreed that any guidance they developed should conform to certain principles. It was to be a first step to help a member of the maternity team, accessible, inexpensive and easy to replicate.

Published Date: 26 May 2011