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Increasing knowledge about domestic violence and women’s mental health

St Patrick’s Mental Health Services held its second conference on domestic violence and women’s mental health on Monday, December 3rd which aimed to increase awareness and knowledge of domestic violence and women’s mental health among health professionals.

The conference entitled ‘Strengthening Responses’ included a keynote address from Dr. Siâm Oram, Lecturer in Women’s Mental Health at King’s College London, and a special guest presentation in conjunction with Safe Ireland, from Professor Emeritus Evan Stark, the international leading expert on coercive control. In Ireland, coercive control is now legally recognised as a form of abuse under the new Domestic Violence Act 2018.

The conference was held in support of the international 16 Days of Activism against Gender Violence campaign, which aims to ‘galvanise action to end violence against women and girls around the world’ (UN Women, 2018).  The 16 days took place from November 25th to December 10th.

Domestic violence is the most common form of gender-based violence globally, and is significantly associated with mental health difficulties. Under-identification of incidents of domestic violence within health services has been highlighted within research however, and improved responses within health services are necessary.

If you would like to learn more, the ICGP have guidelines for dealing with domestic violence which can be accessed here. The ICGP also published a survey report on domestic violence during pregnancy which can be accessed here. Information on national support services, policy and research can be accessed via the COSC (the National Office for the Prevention of Domestic, Sexual and Gender-based Violence) website here.

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