Perils of Pregnancy When Abuse Threatens

Around fourteen per cent of deaths in Devon during pregnancy and just after child birth are as a result of domestic violence.

It's Domestic Abuse Awareness Week  and today we're looking at how violence increases at a time when women are at their most vulnerable.

Now more than 60 healthcare professionals in Devon are being involved in practical workshops to help identify and advise pregnant women and new mothers who may be experiencing domestic abuse.

It is estimated, between four and nine women in every 100 are abused during pregnancy or just after the birth, and one midwife in five knows that at least one of her expectant mothers is a victim.

Detective Sergeant Chloe Webber, from Devon and Cornwall Police, said: “Pregnancy and just after birth is a particular dangerous time as the victim’s attention is often taken away from her partner and directed towards the baby. The abuser’s control and power is challenged and as a result abuse can either begin or escalate to ensure the victim remains under the abuser’s control. 

“The abuse can be emotional, financial or physical and can have an effect on the welfare of the victim and her baby.”
The training, undertaken by Tender ( has been funded by ADVA (Against Domestic Violence and Abuse in Devon).

ADVA manager Rachel Martin said: “We are really pleased to be able to hold these workshops to help educate healthcare professionals.  The knowledge they gain can be used in hospital maternity units, health centres, GP surgeries and children’s centres ensuring all victims all receive help and advice.” 

Midwife matron at the Royal Devon and Exeter Hospital,  Maria Patterson says preganancy is a worrying time for abuse victims. CLICK HERE

Workshops will be taking place on Friday 25 November  in Exeter and South Brent.