Nursing and Midwifery Students’ Knowledge and Attitudes Towards Domestic Violence: A National Study

October 12, 2017

The 3rd STOP Domestic Violence Conference Australia will be held at Rydges Melbourne from Monday 4 – Tuesday 5 December.

Dr Frances Doran, Senior Lecturer at Southern Cross University will be at this year’s Conference, presenting “Nursing and midwifery students’ knowledge and attitudes towards domestic violence: a national study”.

Nursing and Midwifery Students' Knowledge and Attitudes Towards Domestic Violence: A National Study
Dr Frances Doran


At the 2016 DV national conference the results of a study exploring the attitudes, beliefs and knowledge of domestic violence (DV) with undergraduate nursing students at a regional university were presented. The results indicated that stereotypical and gendered attitudes that normalise violence within intimate partner relationships and sustained victim-blaming attitudes were evident.

The results highlighted the need for further research into the influence of undergraduate education on shaping appropriate professional attitudes to domestic violence at a national level.


Consequently in 2017 a national study was undertaken in collaboration with ten Universities across Australia to explore nursing and midwifery students’ self-reported attitudes and views about domestic violence during their undergraduate education program. The survey was extended to Midwifery students due to their mandated role in screening women who present for antenatal check-ups for DV. Similar to nursing students, minimal research has been undertaken with midwifery students to explore their views towards DV or undergraduate education on DV.

This is the first study to comprehensively examine DV with a national cohort of this student group. Data collection is still underway. Key findings will be presented highlighting any comparable differences and similarities across midwifery and nursing programs, areas of concern and encouragement.


This study supports national and international recognition of the urgency to address domestic violence as a public health issue. Nurses and midwives, the largest group of health professionals, have an important role in identifying people who experience DV, encouraging the development of safety plans and facilitating access to assistance and support.

Results will improve our understanding of the factors that influence knowledge, views and attitudes and identify aspects of the curriculum to target to ensure nurses and midwives graduate with knowledge, skills and attitudes conducing to effectively supporting to end violence.

This year the STOP Domestic Violence Conference Australia will embark on the theme of ‘Domestic Violence Does Not Discriminate’ with nine featured speakers and over 50 expert stream/ workshop presenters. 

Register now!

Nursing and Midwifery Students' Knowledge and Attitudes Towards Domestic Violence: A National Study


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