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Making the Referral

Referral options following the disclosure of domestic violence and abuse will depend partly on local health service policy.

Part of the response to DVA disclosure is to offer referral and follow-up.

The person’s unique circumstances will dictate your referral response.
On the one hand, you may be offering some information about community resources or a leaflet to increase awareness about DVA. On the other hand, you may be taking active steps to enable a referral to a shelter in collaboration with the pregnant person, other colleagues and external agencies. Referral options following the disclosure of DVA will depend on local health service policy (such as internal safeguarding processes or whether there is an advocate on site or not).
It is essential to be familiar with local policy and guidelines including named safeguarding leads and to stay up to date with required safeguarding training at the appropriate level. However, there are some general principles that professionals may find useful.
As a healthcare professional, having and sharing clear knowledge of local and national multi-professional support agencies, interagency networks and refuges can empower women to make their own informed choices about how to deal with abuse (Lazenbatt et al., 2009).
Maternity staff and others working with pregnant women (such as family practice) are advised to ensure that their knowledge in this area remains relevant in their own context.

Useful Contacts


European Commission Say no! Stop Violence Against Women
Helplines for supporting victims of gender-based violence in 46 European countries.

UK agencies

Women’s Aid
A national service to support women experiencing domestic violence.

24-hour National Domestic Violence Freephone Helpline. Call 0808 2000 247 or visit the website.

Rape Crisis England & Wales Freephone Helpline
RCEW provides support and information about local Rape Crisis services. Call 0808 802 9999 (12:00 to 14:30 and 19:00 to 21:30 every day of the year) or visit the website.

The Survivors Trust
An umbrella organisation offering support, advice and information for survivors of rape and sexual abuse. Call 0808 801 0818 or visit the website.

Daughters of Eve
Daughters of Eve is a nonprofit organisation, that works to advance and protect the physical, mental, sexual and reproductive health rights of young people from FGM practising communities.

NAPAC (National Association for People Abused in Childhood)
Call 0808 801 0331 or visit the website.

Centre for Women’s Justice
This is a new charity, founded in 2016, which bring together specialist lawyers, academics and other experts in the field of violence against women, with those working on the frontline as activists, survivors and service providers to bring strategic law challenges and ensure access to justice for victims of male violence.

Karma Nirvana
Culture, religion and tradition are not an excuse; forced marriage is illegal in the UK. Karma Nirvana aims to stop forced marriage and honour-based violence. Call 0800 599 9247 or visit the website.

Male Survivors Partnership
Male Survivors Partnership is a space that’s been developed to provide information and support to organisations working with male victims/survivors of sexual abuse, rape and sexual exploitation; and provide male survivors themselves with a single point reference to national and local support services.

FGM National Clinical Group
The FGM National Clinical Group is a UK-based registered charity dedicated to working with women who have been affected by FGM and other related difficulties.


COVAW empowers women and girls to claim their rights; enabling equitable access to services, resources and opportunities; facilitating greater access to justice for survivors of sexual and gender-based violence, and supporting change agents opposed to and committed to the eradication of all forms of violence against women and girls.

Masimanyane Women’s Rights International
Masimanyane Women’s Rights International is an international advocacy and empowerment organisation working with local, national and global partners to strengthen women’s rights, reduce HIV/Aids and eradicate violence against women.

African Network For The Prevention And Protection Against Child Abuse And Neglect (ANPPCAN)
ANPPCAN is a pan-African network that promotes the rights of children and child protection in Africa. Founded and based in Africa, ANPPCAN’s mission is to enhance, in partnership with others, the prevention and protection of children from all forms of maltreatment, thus, ensuring that the rights of children are realised.

Women at Risk International Foundation (WARIF)
A nonprofit organisation incorporated in 2016 in response to the high incidence of sexual violence, rape and human trafficking occurring amongst young girls and women across Nigeria.


The Asia Foundation
The Asia Foundation is a nonprofit international development organisation committed to improving lives across a dynamic and developing Asia.

International List of Sexual and Domestic Violence Agencies


The national sexual assault, family and domestic violence counselling Line for any Australian who has experienced, or is at risk of, family and domestic violence and/or sexual assault. Call the 24-hour helpline 1800RESPECT (1800 737 732) or visit the website.

Safer Families Centre of Research Excellence
Leading sustainable change in the health sector to facilitate early engagement for domestic violence and abuse, this website offers information on clinical pathways and tools, survivor accounts, and publications and other resources for professionals and victims/survivors.

The Domestic Violence Resource Centre Victoria (DVRCV)
DVRCV is a state-wide (Victoria) specialist family violence organisation. For over 30 years, DVRCV has been working towards a vision of creating a world in which women and their children are thriving, respected and free from violence.

Charity Guide
A list of domestic violence charities in Australia.

Aboriginal Family Domestic Violence Hotline
Victims Services has a dedicated contact line for Aboriginal victims of crime who would like information on victims’ rights, how to access counselling and financial assistance. Call 1800 019 123.


The National Center on Domestic Violence, Trauma & Mental Health
The website provides a list of national domestic violence support organisations.

Futures Without Violence
For more than 30 years, Futures Without Violence has been providing programs, policies, and campaigns that empower individuals and organisations working to end violence against women and children around the world.

National Domestic Violence Hotline
A 24-hour confidential and free helpline. Call 1800 799 7233.

National Sexual Assault Hotline
A 24-hour confidential and free helpline. Call 1800 656 4673.


Lazenbatt, A., Taylor, J., & Cree, L. (2009). A healthy settings framework: An evaluation and comparison of midwives’ responses to addressing domestic violence. Midwifery, 25(6), 622-636. DOI 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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