Pregnancy can be a time of extremes – from a wonderfully rich experience to one of anguish and despair. So much of how a woman feels about her pregnancy depends on a range of contingent factors, not least of which is the quality of her relationship with her partner. Thankfully, there is a growing awareness of the dangers that women face from domestic and family violence in Australia.
It is disturbing to realize that around one-third of women who have experienced DV did so for the first time while they were pregnant. According to research, the risk of violence is even higher in cases of unplanned pregnancy. Some of the serious consequences to health include increased risk of miscarriage, stillbirth, termination and postnatal depression. We cannot neglect the risk of fatality, as has been the sad outcome for 15 women in Australia to date for this year alone.
The Queensland Taskforce to investigate Domestic and Family Violence, has called for a more comprehensive response to this social problem which has far reaching impacts in society. The report focused on three key aspects: the cultural attitudes of our community; the role of services and the importance of an integrated response; and the functions of our legal and justice systems.
As a community, we all have a responsibility to stop the behaviour and attitudes that perpetuate the cycle of domestic violence. We need to create a culture that supports respectful relationships, practices positive attitudes and behaviours, and promotes a culture of non-violence. Preventing others from becoming victims of domestic and family violence is the key.
Those affected by domestic and family violence typically have complex needs and often need to draw on a broad range of services. Pregnancy Counselling Link is proactively working in partnership with specialist DV and Mental Health services to provide an integrated response to women and families affected by domestic violence, which is resulting in better outcomes for all.
If you read this and recognise that you are at risk, or that someone you know is at risk, take the time to call our counselling line (1800 777 690) and talk to a counsellor. We can provide you with more information and support to get the help that you need.