The Institute of Health Visiting (iHV) welcomes the publication of the NICE domestic violence and abuse quality standard (QS116), published today.

At least 1.4 million women and 700,000 men aged between 16 and 59 experienced domestic abuse in England and Wales in 2013/14 – 8.5% of women and 4.5% of men, according to the Office for National Statistics (2015) Crime Survey England and Wales, 2013–14.   Another survey conducted on behalf of the Home Office states that at least 29.9% of women and 17.0% of men in England and Wales have experienced domestic abuse at some time.

Dr Cheryll Adams, Executive Director of the Institute of Health Visiting, said:

“We know that domestic violence can be a significant factor in mental illness and that, even if perpetrated just against the mother, her children will suffer consequences too.  Having a quality standard to audit local services against will be very helpful.”

Dr Adams continued:

“I hope that investment into training for all those working with young families, when domestic violence and abuse might most easily be identified, will follow.  The iHV trained over 300 health visitors in domestic violence and abuse during 2014, with their training then being cascaded to colleagues. This was really welcomed by health visitors.”

The Antenatal and postnatal mental health quality standard has been published on the NICE website.

The following quality statements are particularly pertinent to health visitors:

  • Statement 4. Women are asked about their emotional wellbeing at each routine antenatal and postnatal contact.
  • Statement 5. Women with a suspected mental health problem in pregnancy or the postnatal period receive a comprehensive mental health assessment.
  • Statement 6. Women referred for psychological interventions in pregnancy or the postnatal period start treatment within 6 weeks of referral.

Dr Cheryll Adams, Director of the iHV said:

“The Institute really welcomes this quality standard, as we are sure our members will.  It can provide a basis for audit to drive up the quality of services.”