Research revealing female health care workers are more than twice as likely to have experienced physical and/or sexual violence from their partner in the past year than other women spotlights the urgent need for Australia to do more to care for those who care for our community.

“One woman being sexually or physically abused at the hands of a partner is too many,” Australian College of Nursing CEO, Adjunct Professor Kylie Ward said. “As a society we must be appalled and ashamed that nearly half of the women who provide clinical care in our communities, who are there for us and our loved ones when we are most vulnerable, have experienced domestic violence.”

“Governments, hospitals, the profession and consumers need to work together to ensure female health care workers can access support when they need it. This must include education about available support programs; a culture that destigmatises domestic violence and actively encourages women to seek help; enabling female health care workers to take leave, speak up and decline to treat a patient if they believe a case may impact their own health; and access physical and mental care when they need it without risk of future career repercussions,” Adjunct Professor Ward said.

The study published in BMC Women’s Health last week surveyed over 470 female health professionals. It identified one in ten participants had experienced intimate partner violence in the last 12 months, and overall 45 per cent of participants reported violence by a partner and/or family member during their lifetime.

”ACN will be speaking with its members to determine how it can best play a role in keeping female medical professionals safe and raising the issue with governments and health care providers,” Adjunct Professor Ward committed.

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