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Maternity Project

Women’s Aid and four of Ireland’s leading maternity hospitals are working together to support women subjected to domestic violence and abuse, including coercive control, with a three-year pilot programme.

What is the Women’s Aid Maternity Project?

The Maternity Project is a partnership is between Women’s Aid and four leading maternity hospitals.  The hospital partners are:

The three-year pilot project will enhance the maternity hospitals response to domestic abuse through a jointly created training, awareness and referral programme.

Key Strands of the Maternity Project:

A dedicated Women’s Aid domestic abuse support worker is assigned to the three Dublin maternity hospitals and receives referrals directly from these hospitals.  Read more about this service here.

The Maternity Project Domestic Violence and Abuse (DVA) Training Programme is a unique pilot training programme in Ireland as it was collaboratively designed, and content tested with multidisciplinary staff from the three Dublin maternity hospitals (The Rotunda, The Coombe and The National Maternity Hospital) and Cork University Maternity hospital.

Three Levels of Training

The training is framed around the 3 R’s – Recognise, Respond, and Refer.

There are three levels to the Women’s Aid Maternity Project DVA Training Award programme, starting with Bronze and progressing to Silver and Gold. Participants must complete the Bronze level course before they enrol on the Silver level course, and must complete the Silver before enrolling on the Gold level course.

Who is this training for?

All Clinical Staff within the pilot, partner Maternity Hospitals (Rotunda, Coombe, National Maternity Hospital and Cork University Hospital) and two regional sites of University Hospital Kerry Maternity Unit and St. Luke’s Kilkenny Maternity Unit. This includes Medical Social Workers, Midwives, Non-consultant Hospital Doctors, Obstetricians, and Physiotherapists (allied health professionals) and any other clinical staff working within the maternity services. In addition, health care assistants can also avail of this training programme.

For more information email training@womensaid.ie

The project partners have designed unique pregnancy and domestic abuse resources for use by the four leading hospitals and their regional counterparts.

An awareness campaign happens during the 16 Days of Action (25th November and 10th December) and the materials are on display during the rest of the year.

Download the Maternity Awareness materials:

Other Project focus areas:

The project will review current protocols and practices and offer support around development of protocols and procedures where most needed and where feasible.

The project will collect data from the dedicated support project and collaboratively review and provide recommendations to enhance data collection on domestic violence and abuse as required.

The Maternity Project has a national reach and ambition.  The independent evaluation of the project will make evidence based recommendations to seek support to mainstream the training programme to a national level and to the benefit all of the Maternity Units.

The Project also would like to see the model of a specialist domestic abuse support worker attached to maternity hospitals/units become a model that is sustainably funded for each hospital and unit across the country.

The project evaluation will be completed in 2024.

Learn more

Get in touch

If you would like any more information about this project please email gillian.dennehy@womensaid.ie