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Domestic abuse charity warns ‘vital opportunities are being missed’ by NHS

2 min read

A charity which looks after the victims of domestic abuse has warned that “vital opportunities” to save lives are being missed because specially trained staff are not working in hospitals.

Fewer than 50 hospitals have specially trained staff designed to spot the signs of domestic abuse of patients.

Safelives is calling for more independent domestic violence advisers, known as IDVAs, to be based within the health service and believes without them too many vital opportunities are being missed to help those in need of support.

Diana Barren, the charity's chief executive, told Sky News: "We know that only one in five women will call the police so having support for women in a hospital setting and in a GP setting is really critical to make sure we intervene early for them and their children."

Domestic abuse is estimated to cost the NHS £1.76bn ever year as victims are admitted to hospital with physical and mental health problems.

In a statement the Home Office said: "Last year the Government committed increased funding of £80m to stop violence against women and girls, launching a new strategy to stop physical abuse with early intervention and prevention. A further £20m for domestic abuse services was announced in the Spring Budget.

"Independent Domestic Violence Advisers (IDVAs) play a crucial role in protecting victims across the UK. Under this Government, the number of IDVAs have more than doubled since 2010."

Safelives also found that over 50,000 NHS staff were dealing with domestic abuse in their personal lives.

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