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Validate the person’s experiences

It is essential to validate the person’s experiences.
© Coventry University. CC BY-NC 4.0

The woman/birthing person has disclosed to you that they have been exposed to abuse at the hands of their partner (or ex-partner): what can be offered next?

Drawing on the LIVES approach (WHO, 2014), it is essential to validate the person’s experiences. The validation statements set out below are recommended by the WHO in guidance on training healthcare professionals on caring for women exposed to violence (WHO, 2019).

Important things that you can say

  • It’s not your fault. You are not to blame.
  • It’s okay to talk.
  • Help is available (say this only if it is true).
  • No one deserves to be hit by their partner.
  • You are not alone. Unfortunately, many other people have faced this problem too.
  • What happened has no justification or excuse.
  • Your life, your health, you are of value.
  • Everybody deserves to feel safe at home.
  • I am worried that this may be affecting your health.


Use the space below and adapt the statements above to your work, be that in an antenatal care setting or other environments.


World Health Organization. (2014). Health care for women subjected to intimate partner violence or sexual violence: A clinical handbook. Web link

World Health Organization. (2019). Caring for women subjected to violence: A WHO curriculum for training health-care providers. Web link

© Coventry University. CC BY-NC 4.0
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Identifying and Responding to Domestic Violence and Abuse (DVA) in Pregnancy

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