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This content is taken from the The University of Sheffield's online course, Supporting Victims of Domestic Violence. Join the course to learn more.
Course educator Parveen Ali

Welcome to the course

Hello and welcome to the course. My name is Parveen Ali and I am a Senior Lecturer in the School of Nursing and Midwifery here at The University of Sheffield. I have been working on the issue of domestic abuse and inequalities in health for more than 15 years.

In this first article, I’m going to explain what’s coming up over the next three weeks and offer some tips for taking care of yourself. It’s a bit of a long read, but please do try to stick with it until the end.

What’s coming up?

The adverse physical, mental, sexual and reproductive health outcomes of domestic violence and abuse (DVA) can lead victims to make extensive use of healthcare resources.

This means that health and social care professionals will frequently - and often unknowingly - encounter victims of domestic violence and abuse. However, professionals do not always feel adequately trained to identify or support victims. Some may even feel that it is not their role to do so.

This course is aimed at anyone who may come into contact with victims of domestic violence and abuse. By the end of the course, you’ll be able to recognise signs and symptoms of abuse and know how to provide victims with support.

Here’s a bit more detail about what we’re going to cover:

Week 1: We started the course by looking at how gender impacts on an activity that many of us do every day - walking. This week we’ll expand on this topic to learn how domestic violence and abuse is a gendered crime and we’ll look at the various forms that DVA can take.

Week 2: Next week, we’ll explore the prevalence of DVA around the world. We’ll find out why some groups are at risk of experiencing abuse and learn about the serious effects it has on the victim, their family and their children. We’ll end the week by looking at the range of signs and symptoms that can alert you to a person experiencing DVA.

Week 3: In the final week of the course, you’ll practise starting a conversation about DVA and develop practical skills for supporting victims including, recording information, safety planning and referring victims to appropriate services.

Our course mentors

Jesrine Clarke-Darrington and Stephanie Ejegi-Memeh will also be joining us during the course to help answer your questions, encourage discussion and offer additional support and guidance.

You may wish to follow the course team so that you can easily see their comments - just click on their name, and then click the pink ‘Follow’ button at the bottom of their profile.

Taking care of yourself

This course is going to explore the issue of domestic violence and abuse which is a sensitive and emotive topic. It’s possible that you have experienced abuse yourself or know someone that has. In other words, you may have direct or indirect experience which has influenced your decision to join this course.

We regret that we are unable to provide direct support to victims in this course.

It is important that you take care of yourself. This may mean taking a break from the content if you are finding it distressing or talking about it with someone who can offer support. This could come from friends or family, but sometimes might need professional support from a medical practitioner, counsellor or support worker.

Finding support

It might be useful for everyone, at the start of the course, to find out the support services that are available where you are and how you can access them.

Please spend some time to explore the support that is available in your country or location. You could even share what you find in the discussion on this step.

Being respectful of others

Please be considerate when engaging in group discussions and in responding to other people’s posts. This doesn’t mean you can’t disagree or present your own view, we just ask that you do so respectfully.

As we’ll be covering some sensitive and emotive topics in this course, we wanted to remind you of the code of conduct that you agreed to when joining FutureLearn and ask that you behave with respect and kindness to fellow learners and educators.

Also, be mindful that this course is available to a public audience so only disclose information that you are comfortable sharing with others. Take care not to share personally identifiable information that could put yourself or others at risk.

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By filling in your profile details, you will help us to understand our learners better. Information such as your educational level and employment area really helps us when it comes to evaluating the course and guides us in making improvements for future runs. You can complete your profile by visiting the more about you page.

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This article is from the free online course:

Supporting Victims of Domestic Violence

The University of Sheffield