Strand 2: Education in clinical practice and practice development
Approximately 20% of women worldwide have experienced some form of childhood sexual abuse (Pereda et al 2009). It is more prevalent than many of the common medical conditions that increase risk for women (such as diabetes and hypertension) yet it is often absent from the education of healthcare professionals (Bewley & Welch 2014). Survivors are prevalent in maternity services but few disclose to those caring for them. Women often experience re-enactment of their abuse during maternity care (Montgomery et al 2015a). Although disclosure and subsequent sensitive care will not necessarily prevent women experiencing re-enactment of their abuse during pregnancy and birth (Montgomery et al 2015a), if during their maternity care women retain control and forge positive, trusting relationships with healthcare professionals, they may experience healing in the process (Montgomery 2013). A sensitive response is of paramount importance yet these women are hidden and silent (Montgomery et al 2015b). There is evidence that healthcare professionals do not feel comfortable in dealing with disclosures of abuse (Jackson & Fraser 2009, Read 2007). We have identified a need for educational materials to help prepare healthcare professionals and students to care for survivors with understanding.