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New training for GPs on violence against women and children

By Ian Quinn

GPs are expected to be urged to intervene much earlier if they suspect patients have been the victims of domestic abuse, people trafficking or self-harm, after MPs were told plans to reduce violence against women and children will be revealed next month.

Health minister Ann Keen told the House of Commons a forthcoming report by a Government taskforce into violence against women and girls, headed up by Sir George Alberti, would include new training requirements for practices.

Ministers have been drawing up plans for GPs to be better equipped to tackle issues including domestic abuse, female genital mutilation and forced marriage.

As part of the taskforce's recommendations, every SHA and PCT is expected to have to appoint a trafficking lead to spearhead moves to detect women who have been brought illegally into the country, many for prostitution.

Conservative MP for Totnes, Anthony Steen, told the Commons: ‘Many trafficked women display multiple problems, both physical and mental, and when they go to accident and emergency units in hospitals, as well as to general practitioners, they are not readily identified as trafficked women, but viewed as victims of violence. ‘

Ms Keen said: ‘The training that health care workers receive for meeting difficult situations will be covered in Sir George Alberti's report, which we expect to be published in early February. A specific training mandate will, I feel, be put in place from those recommendations.'

The task force was launched last May by then-health secretary Alan Johnson who said: 'Almost one in three women will experience domestic violence at some point during their lives and nearly one in four will experience some form of sexual assault.'

'Many women who have suffered violence and abuse turn to GPs and A&E for support and treatment - the taskforce will help us to ensure that all NHS staff are trained to care for women and girls and help prevent further abuse.'

Ann Keen: GPs to get new training on abuse of women Ann Keen: GPs to get new training on abuse of women