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Title: From the margins into the centre: women's experiences of domestic violence during pregnancy
Author: Aston, Gillian
ISNI:       0000 0001 3431 3003
Awarding Body: University of Manchester
Current Institution: University of Manchester
Date of Award: 2003
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The purpose of this study is to examine women's understandings of domestic violence during pregnancy. More specifically it explores: a) a range of women's experiences and interpretations of domestic violence during pregnancy, b) the meanings of domestic violence during pregnancy to the women themselves, and c) the context in which their meanings are embedded. Included in the study are women's recommendations for improvements in the care provided by maternity and health care professions for women experiencing domestic violence during pregnancy. In this qualitative study in depth individual interviews were conducted with a total of twenty two women. Two pre-prepared indices of violent acts and injuries, The Violence Assessment Index (VAI) and the Injury Assessment Index (IAI) were utilised on completion of interviews as a means of uncovering violent acts and injuries women sustained during the worst violent event in pregnancy. The study was guided by the principles of research from a feminist perspective and the inductive process of grounded theory. Findings indicated that practices in maternity care settings were not orientated to meeting the needs of the women in the study. Women's experiences were invalidated, silent, and not accounted for. The difficulties described by women can be divided into those that made it difficult for women to tell their stories and those -that prevent midwives and other. health care professionals from responding appropriately to the psychosocial context of woman abuse during pregnancy. Apart from the physical impact of violent acts and injuries on the body during pregnancy, women reported a variety of challenges to their sense of self, and self-esteem. Feelings of vulnerability and protectiveness toward the unborn baby were exacerbated by violent events and embodiments that are specific to the bodily condition of pregnancy. This was reflected in women's anxieties about maternity care professionals contacting statutory agencies over child protection concerns. Approximately one-third of women reported that domestic violence was worse after the birth of their babies. Women revealed that the arrival of a dependent infant threw their violent relationships into ever more disarray. The insidious and controlling behaviours of their violent partner was a source of anxiety, emotional distress, and physical exhaustion which was neither self-limiting or mild in nature. Other main findings relate to women's experiences of domestic violence and abortion. Women described the threatening behaviours men used during their attempts to influence the reproductive autonomy and decisions of the women. Experiences of domestic violence were mainly discussed in the context of relationship quality. Moreover, familial and social support networks played a significant role throughout the abortion experience of women. Implications arising from the study point to the need for maternity and health care professionals to listen to women. And to explore the contextual components of maternity and health care that inhibit woman-centred approaches to domestic Violence during pregnancy.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available