Midwives’ knowledge and attitudes when encountering Gender-Based Violence in their practice at a maternity-hospital in Kingston

Introduction: Gender-based violence (GBV) can have devastating consequences for pregnancy because both mother and child are at risk. Midwives are in a strategic position to identify and empower pregnant women experiencing GBV; however, currently midwives in Jamaica are not required to screen for GBV, neither are they prepared to do so.

Aim: This study forms the baseline of a larger study designed to improve the capacity of midwives to identify and treat pregnant women experiencing GBV in Jamaica. This specific component assessed midwives’ knowledge and attitudes when encountering GBV in their practice in Kingston, Jamaica.

Methods: A qualitative study design was used. Six practicing midwives were purposely selected to participate in a focus group discussion at the antenatal clinic of a hospital in Kingston, Jamaica.

Results: All six respondents said it was very important to screen for GBV among pregnant women in their care. The findings from their report revolved around six themes, namely midwives have suboptimal knowledge, are exposed to women experiencing GBV in pregnancy, lack professional preparedness, report gaps in the institutional framework to guide their practice, are concerned for their safety and security, and are willing to intervene.

Conclusion: This study confirmed that midwives are aware of the problem and are willing to intervene but are faced with lack of formal procedures to detect and treat pregnant women who are experiencing GBV. Findings could be used to inform a protocol which is being developed to guide midwives’ practice. Findings could also be incorporated in the national strategy to eliminate GBV.


Pitter, C.

Publication Year: 
International Journal of Qualitative Studies on Health and Well-being, 11: 29358
Gender-based violence
Attitudes and practices