NurChat nurses breaking down taboo of domestic abuse and FGM

Addressing the topic of abuse is never easy, but it’s essential to keep domestic abuse and FGM in mainstream conversation in order to help victims get the help they need and reduce future incidents. Nurses and healthcare professionals took part in a recent NurChat twitter chat to talk about how best to support victims.

Nurses and healthcare professionals frequently help patients through the most difficult, painful and traumatic periods in their lives. Remaining professional and compartmentalising emotion is something that many nurses practice daily and it’s never easy. Emotional resilience can be especially challenging when treating a victim of domestic abuse or female genital mutilation (FGM).

Sadly, cases of both domestic abuse and FGM are on the rise in the UK, although it’s hoped that this is due to better reporting methods and increased awareness. Recorded cases of domestic abuse in England have reportedly risen by 31% since 2013 and it’s now mandatory for nurses to report known cases of FGM in under 18s to the police via the 101 service. We’re seeing more cases of FGM protection orders being granted as it becomes a mainstream health issue and the taboo of speaking about it is gradually broken down.

Nurses are ideally placed to support domestic abuse and FGM victims, but finding the topic difficult to approach and not having enough specific training to tackle the issues can be barriers to effective patient-centred care. So how can over-pressured nurses working in a stressful and potentially under-resourced environment be receptive to the sometimes over-looked signs that a patient may be a victim of abuse? How can nurses give them the time, attention and security to open up? Well, the answer is there’s no easy answer.

Many nurses who participated in the NurChat twitter chat on the topic felt well aware of safeguarding and reporting procedures, but have received little specific training regarding FGM or domestic abuse. Historically FGM victims lived in urban areas, but it’s now estimated that no local authority area in England and Wales is free from FGM. It’s no longer an issue confined to certain geographic areas and national training, such as this online course from the Home Office, should be more widely available.

It’s extremely difficult for anyone suffering any kind of abuse to open up about their experiences and ask for help. Fear, denial and embarrassment are all significant barriers, but the experience of an under-staffed healthcare environment and over-pressured nurses will only serve to reduce the chances that a patient will feel comfortable enough to talk about their experiences. Resourcing should be considered a key part of creating a safe place for victims to receive the help they require.

To read the full transcript from Tuesday’s Nurchat twitter chat, click here.


The Communications Team


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#NurChat is a fortnightly Twitter chat, operated by Newcross Healthcare Solutions, that's open to Nurses, Healthcare Assistants, Carers and anyone with an opinion on the topic. Discussions are held at 8pm UK time every other Tuesday and features topical issues such as supporting student nurses, a 7-day health service, dementia care and the Francis Report. More information is available at


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Newcross Healthcare Solutions is a privately-owned healthcare business employing nurses, healthcare assistants and support workers. The business was founded in 1996, with the single aim of providing the highest possible quality of care through well-trained and reliable healthcare professionals. With over 40 branches throughout the UK, and more planned to open in the near future, Newcross now employs over 4,500 permanent members of staff. Newcross supports a wide range of clients in the public, private and third sectors with their healthcare staffing needs, from temporary ad-hoc requirements to permanent, full time teams of specialist staff. The business has evolved at a rapid pace in its 19-year history, but always with the aim of providing a better experience and outcome for both employees and clients. Recent developments include a mobile care assessment app for use by a clinical assessor when creating a personalised care plan for a client in their own home, and free iOS and Android apps for staff to manage their working life with Newcross whenever and wherever they choose.