Caring Constrained by Context: Emergency Clinicians’ Responses to Women Victims of Violence

Research output: Contribution to conferenceAbstract


To increase knowledge and understanding of how emergency care clinicians respond to women victims of violence.

Medical help is the second most common form of assistance sought by women after an assault. It is crucial therefore that the clinicians tasked with caring for these women are able to help these women safely and compassionately. Understanding how they perceive their role and the context in which they work is essential in building clinician resilience and improving the therapeutic relationship with this vulnerable patient group.

In-depth semi-structured interviews were conducted with 22 emergency care clinicians from a range of roles and organisations in metropolitan Adelaide, South Australia. The transcripts were then thematically analysed.

Two major themes emerged: the clinician’s role and contextual barriers. There is a strong desire by clinicians to help and a recognition that they are in a position to do so, but they can feel helpless or unable to effectively change her situation. The culture of medical acuity prioritization means they often feel unable to provide the pastoral care that they would like to provide, regularly citing environmental barriers such as lack of time, privacy and access to other services. These clinicians say they require greater education and training, particularly to improve confidence in caring for women who have been assaulted, as they felt lacking in these skills.

Greater knowledge, skills and confidence in their abilities are necessary to improve emergency clinicians’ perceptions and practice, as well as improving their contextual barriers. This would increase the resilience and capacity of emergency clinicians to care for these women, and ultimately lead to more positive outcomes for women victims of violence.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages1
Publication statusPublished - 2 Sep 2019
Externally publishedYes
Event3rd European Conference on Domestic Violence - Oslo Congress Centre, Oslo, Norway
Duration: 2 Sep 20194 Sep 2019


Conference3rd European Conference on Domestic Violence
Abbreviated titleECDV


  • victims of violence
  • domestic violence
  • emergency care clinicians
  • women victims
  • contextual barriers


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