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Contemp Nurse. 2012 Oct;42(2):216-25. doi: 10.5172/conu.2012.42.2.216.

Reconceptualising health and health care for women affected by domestic violence.

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  • 1School of Nursing and Midwifery, Nathan campus, Griffith University, Brisbane, QLD, Australia.


Domestic violence is a major public health issue that influences all aspects of affected women's lives (World Health Organisation, 2010). Women who are subjected to domestic violence seek help from a wide range of professionals within health and social care sectors, and evidence suggests that their experiences tend to be negative. We argue that current approaches are based on responses that are medically informed and provide an alternate lens from which to view women's health care needs. This paper reports on the findings of the second phase of a two-phase study. The first phase of the study reported on women's emerging health needs, efforts to seek help and experiences of seeking healthcare. The second phase examined how nurses constructed the health and health issues of women affected by domestic violence when women presented for health care. This paper brings together the findings of both phases to argue there is a disconnection in women's experiences and needs and how nurses construct needs and deliver care. Biographical disruption is a new lens from which to view women's experiences and is a framework which highlights how women experience significant dislocation of their sense of self as a result of domestic violence.

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