Study-Unit Description

Study-Unit Description


TITLE Working with Volatile Families – A Course for Midwives

LEVEL 05 - Postgraduate Modular Diploma or Degree Course


DEPARTMENT Family Studies

DESCRIPTION Evidence has identified pregnancy as a time of increased risk for domestic abuse (Leneghan, Gillen & Sinclair, 2012) either as a trigger or as an escalator. Abuse is a significant physical and psychological threat to both women and the unborn child and also wreaks havoc in the relationship between family members, particularly in the couple relationship. This unit will help health care professionals better understand the complexities that surrounds domestic violence, whether it affects them professionally or personally. It will guide them to know what they can do to help and support their patients and colleagues when concerns around domestic issues are raised.

Study-unit Aims:

The unit aims:
- to provide practitioners with a forum to discuss various theoretical explanations as to the dynamics of gender-based violence and domestic violence;
- to help practitioners to analyse current legislation, policies and practices in the area of domestic violence;
- to help practitioners identify how individual victims of domestic abuse may present in different health care settings related to ante – and post-natal care and how the subject of domestic abuse can be approached;
- to provide practitioners with the skills of risk assessment and safety planning and guide them as to which services they can refer their patients.

Learning Outcomes:

1. Knowledge & Understanding
By the end of the study-unit the student will be able to:

1 . describe the current local legislation and policy guidelines concerning gender-based violence and domestic violence;
2. recognise the signs and symptoms of possible domestic abuse;
3. distinguish a clear pathway of care for domestic abuse both for the victim and the perpetrator;
4. describe the importance of multi-agency collaboration and the roles of statutory agencies and non-government service.

2. Skills
By the end of the study-unit the student will be able to:

1. ask key questions when concerns about domestic violence are triggered, in a sensitive, non-judgemental manner that acknowledges the patients’ fears and concerns;
2. critically assess if the patient is in imminent danger or if someone is being abused in a non-urgent situation;
3. conduct safety-planning especially if the health care professional has to take into account the presence of the perpetrator;
4. engage with the perpetrator, where appropriate and safe to do so, in order to direct them to seek appropriate help;
5. consult and collaborate with local, statutory and non-governmental domestic violence services.

Main Text/s and any supplementary readings:

Main text/s:

- Bartnett, O.W., Miller- Perrin, C. L., & Perrin, R.B. (2010). Family violence across the life span. (3rd ed). Thousand Oaks: Sage.
- Sammut Scerri, C., Vetere, A., Abela, A., Cooper, J. (2017). “Intervening after violence. Therapy for couples and families. Springer: Cham, Switzerland.

Supplementary readings:

- Bailey, B.A. (2010). Patner violence during pregnancy : prevalence, effects, screening, and management. International Journal of Women’s Health, 2, 183- 197.
- Campbell, J., Jones, A.S., Dienemann, J., Kub, J., Schollenberger, J., O’ Campo. P., Gielen, A.C., Wynne, C. (2002). Intimate partner violence and physical health consequences. Archives.
- Leneghan, S., Gillen, P., & Sinclair, M. (2012). Interventions to reduce domestic abuse in pregnancy: a qualitative systematic review. Evidence Based Midwifery, 10 (4), 137 - 142.
- Keeling, J. & Mason, T. (2010) . Postnatal disclosure of domestic violence: comparison with disclosure in the 1st trimester of pregnancy. Journal of Clinical Nursing, 20, 103 – 110. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2702.2010.03486.x.
- Wright, L. (2003). Asking about domestic violence. British Journal of Midwifery, 11 (4), 199- 202. Retrieved from
- Key recommendations of NICE guidelines on domestic violence . Nursing Standard (2014) : London Vol. 28, (26,) (Feb 26, 2014).
- Wright, L. (2013). Asking about domestic violence. British Journal of Midwifery, 11 (4),

ADDITIONAL NOTES Pre-Requisite Qualification: A Qualification in midwifery


Assessment Component/s Assessment Due Resit Availability Weighting
Assignment SEM2 Yes 100%

LECTURER/S Elaine Compagno
Lara Maria Dimitrijevic
Colette Farrugia Bennett
Sylvana Gafa
Marceline Naudi
Clarissa Sammut Scerri (Co-ord.)

The University makes every effort to ensure that the published Courses Plans, Programmes of Study and Study-Unit information are complete and up-to-date at the time of publication. The University reserves the right to make changes in case errors are detected after publication.
The availability of optional units may be subject to timetabling constraints.
Units not attracting a sufficient number of registrations may be withdrawn without notice.
It should be noted that all the information in the description above applies to study-units available during the academic year 2020/1. It may be subject to change in subsequent years.