Episode 137: Domestic abuse during the Covid pandemic – patient experiences and how GPs can help

In this episode, we talk to Dr Lizzie Emsley, Public Health Registrar and Academic Clinical Fellow at the University of Bristol and trained in General Practice, and Dr Eszter Szilassy, Senior Research Fellow, from the University of Bristol.

Paper: General practice as a place to receive help for domestic abuse during the COVID-19 pandemic: a qualitative interview study in England and Wales

Available at:

General practice is an important place for patients experiencing or perpetrating domestic violence and abuse (DVA) and for their children to seek and receive help. While the incidence of DVA may have increased during the COVID-19 pandemic, there has been a substantial reduction in DVA identifications and referrals to specialist services from general practice. At the same time, there has been the imposition of stringent lockdown measures and a rapid shift to remote care in general practice. This study explored patient experiences of seeking help for DVA in general practice during the COVID-19 pandemic, with additional insight from healthcare professionals. This study also included a focus on children affected by DVA. The authors found that patients affected by DVA had a strong preference for face-to-face consultation models in general practice for the opportunity of non- verbal communication. Children affected by DVA are a vulnerable group and this study reported concerns regarding their visibility to healthcare professionals in general practice during the pandemic.

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