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Special Interest Group on Family Violence


Newsletter - October 23rd, 2017

Workshop at 3rd the VdGM Forum

During the third Vasco da Gama Movement (VdGM) Forum, held in Jerusalem between 14 and 16 September 2016, the VdGM Family Violence Group has presented a workshop in collaboration with the WONCA SIG-FV focusing on how cultural diversity can play a role on the disclosure and follow-up of gender violence.

Organizing team (from left to right): 

Shelly Rothschild; Claire Marie Thomas; Hagit Dascal-Weichhendler; Yael Livni-Gillerma; Nina Monteiro; Elena Klusova 

As one recognizes that gender based violence occurs in any given culture, we also are aware that different beliefs and cultural norms may affect its presentations, disclosure, outcome and treatment. The main purpose of the workshop was to explore how cultural diversity, in the context of gender based violence, relates with the patient, the clinician and the health care setting.

The workshop started with an introduction to gender based violence theory including health, social and economic consequences. Then the theme of cultural competence was introduced but not fully explored before the small group discussion we had.

During the small group discussion it was very interesting to realize the enthusiasm of the participants. In all the four groups there were examples of colleagues that have already been challenged by the complexity of cultural diversity when dealing with victims of gender based violence.

The workshop followed with a more deep explanation of cultural competency and we presented some strategies to guide each one's development of cultural competency.
Also during the workshop Claire Marie Thomas summarized her fantastic work at Bwindi Community Hospital and Ugandan Nursing School Bwindi in assessing staff and student attitudes to gender based violence and designing a sensitisation campaign. Claire shared a touching case description embodying how cultural differences can influence the perception of gender based violence.

No doubt health care professionals face significant cultural challenges in addressing gender based violence victims. The discussion on dealing with cultural diversity is definitely not over, and it should be further addressed in upcoming events.

It is important to note that the subject of family violence was addressed also in another workshop presented by a different group in the forum, and also was mentioned in a workshop on migrants/refugees.


Author: Nina Monteiro

Pregnant and in peril:

The approach to intimate partner abuse in pregnancy


Workshop development during the WONCA Europe Conference in Prague, 2017



Intimate partner abuse is a serious risk during pregnancy with significant consequences for the pregnant woman and the unborn child. Sadly, abuse often begins in pregnancy or established abuse can increase in frequency and severity. Furthermore, several studies have shown that abuse in pregnancy is more common than other well-known complications such as placenta previa or pre-eclampsia. In addition to trauma, intimate partner abuse can lead to miscarriages, low birth weight babies and postpartum depression, yet it remains underdiagnosed and under-recognised.


The aim of the workshop was to equip Family Doctors with a set of tools that should help them identify and manage intimate partner abuse during pregnancy.


A brief introduction regarding key facts on intimate partner abuse during pregnancy is creating the atmosphere to start with the workshop. The prevalence of physical violence during the pregnancy is range from 1% in Japan city to 28% in Peru Province, with the majority of sites ranging between 4% and 12%1.

After introducing to the audience this specific features, we were divided in four groups discussing different case scenarios leaded by these 4 questions:
  1. What are the red flags in this case?
  2. Should you screen for violence in this case?
  3. How would you approach the question of domestic abuse?
  4. What should you do if violence is confirmed?
After the reflection, through a dynamic and interactive conversation, participants were provided with the necessary tools in order to deal with this issue confidently. Family Doctors, in frequent contact with pregnant women, are well placed to identify and help those who are being abused or at risk. And the idea of this workshop is that, by the end of it, participants should have raised awareness of the fundamental aspects of intimate partner abuse during pregnancy as well as basic tools to identify and manage these patients.
Continue Reading
Authors - Nina Monteiro, Raquel Gómez Bravo, Ula Chetty, Maria João Nobre, Elena Klusova, Hagit Dascal-Weichhendler

CONTACT:, @vdgm_fv


**Of Interest**

Online tools that relate to Domestic Violence


This online toolkit is designed to help improve the transfer of learning into practice from training courses on violence against women. More info...

PACTS Project

An innovative Primary care program Advancing Competency To Support family violence survivors - open access online teaching and learning resource. More info...


Improving outcomes for children exposed to domestic violence: An evidence synthesis. More info...


7th EURIPA Rural Health Forum in Crete, Greece:
2nd-4th November

WONCA Asia Pacific Regional Conference 2017 in Pattaya, Thailand:
1st-4th November

WONCA South Asia Region Conference in Kathmandu, Nepal:
25th-26th November

Family Justice Centers & The Health Sector - International Conference & Network Meeting in Brussels, Belgium:
1st-2nd December

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WONCA Special Interest Group on Family Violence · 200 Berkeley Street, Carlton · Melbourne, Vic 3053 · Australia

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