‘What do I do?’ A study to inform development of an e-resource for maternity healthcare professionals and students caring for people with lived experience of childhood sexual abuse

Elsa Montgomery*, Yan Shing Chang

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Background: The impact of childhood sexual abuse can last a lifetime. It is more prevalent than many common complexities that require additional care during the childbirth cycle but is rarely part of the education of healthcare professionals and students. This study informed the development of an e-resource to support maternity healthcare professionals and students caring for people with lived experience of childhood sexual abuse. Objectives: To identify any previous learning of pre-registration students and healthcare professionals in relation to care of survivors of childhood sexual abuse, explore their clinical experience in caring for survivors, identify related learning needs, explore what survivors of childhood sexual abuse would like healthcare professionals to know about their maternity care needs. Design: A qualitative descriptive study using focus groups and interviews. Data derived qualitative content analysis was employed to address the objectives. Setting: The study was designed in consultation with The Survivors Trust and took place in South London, UK Participants: Thirty seven health care professionals and students participated, comprising 25 students of midwifery, health visiting and medicine; 9 midwives, health visitors and doctors with specialist obstetric training. Eight women with lived experience took part in focus groups. Findings: Care of women and birthing people who have experienced childhood sexual abuse had not been part of the undergraduate/pre-registration curricula, nor in specialist training for obstetricians. Many practitioners felt unprepared to care for those with lived experience of abuse and their learning needs were wide-ranging. The need for a learning resource was acknowledged and the outline plan that had been produced following the focus groups was endorsed by participants with lived experience. Conclusion: Care for women and birthing people with lived experience of childhood sexual abuse can be challenging for both personal and professional reasons. This study confirmed the need for a resource that could facilitate the classroom teaching of students and be used for the Continuous Professional Development of qualified practitioners.

Original languageEnglish
Article number103780
JournalMIDWIFERY
Volume125
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2023

Keywords

  • Childhood sexual abuse
  • E-resource
  • Education
  • Healthcare professionals
  • Maternity care
  • Trauma informed care

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