Defeating the enemy within: New tools to fix partner violence

23 August 2016 - 02:00 By TANYA FARBER


Abuse at the hands of one's partner is rife across the world. And even though South Africa has the highest levels of this type of violence, healthcare providers are not trained to deal with it and it is still regarded as a taboo subject. Now, the World Psychiatric Association has created the first comprehensive curriculum that can be used by institutes globally to try to combat intimate partner violence .In South Africa, shocking statistics reveal that:Half of all women killed are slainby their intimate partners - this rate of femicide (8.8/100000) is the highest in the world;More than 50% of women report experiencing intimate partner violence, often during pregnancy;20% of women surveyed in antenatal clinics in Soweto reported sexual violence by an intimate partner; 68% reported psychological abuse; andMore than a third of girls report having been sexually violated; and 45% of children have witnessed their mothers being beaten.The curriculum includes a clinical handbook by the World Health Organisation, links to research findings, video learning vignettes, competency assessment frameworks, case studies and slides.Simone Honikman, director of the Perinatal Mental Health Project in Cape Town, has hailed the new open-source curriculum."This is an excellent resource for capacity building that can be easily adapted. In the years of working with health and social development workers we have been struck by the need for improved access to competency-based training on addressing intimate partner violence and sexual violence."Researcher Allison Groves said intimate partner violence has "significant negative health and social consequences for women, including injury, poor mental health, sexually transmitted infections (including HIV), substance use and death".

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