The College is working to raise awareness of the safeguarding role of dental professionals in response to signs of domestic abuse, and to support information-gathering on the profession’s own experiences.

Photo by Priscilla Du Preez on Unsplash

In the UK, around 1 in 4 women and 1 in 7 men experience domestic abuse during their life, including psychological, emotional, physical, sexual or financial abuse, and/or coercion, control or stalking. Healthcare professionals are at even higher risk.

Working in partnership with researchers at Bristol Medical School’s Domestic Violence and Abuse Health Research Group (DVAHG), the College is inviting all dental professionals to join a free webinar to learn how to recognise signs of abuse among colleagues or patients and act accordingly, and is encouraging all those in the profession who have experienced abuse, or supported colleagues who may have done so, to complete the DVAHG’s survey.

The webinar, Domestic abuse in dentistry – speak out, takes place at 7pm this Tuesday, 1 November 2022.

Preetee Hylton, a dental nurse, safeguarding lead and domestic abuse survivor, together with Dr Alison Gregory and Dr Sandi Dheensa of Bristol Medical School, will help participants:

  • Understand the various types of domestic abuse, and recognise the possible signs
  • Be confident in assisting patients and colleagues who require support
  • Work together as a team to create a safe space in the workplace
  • Grasp the importance of the Employer’s Initiative on Domestic Abuse

The webinar, hosted by the College and available through ProDental CPD, is free to view live for all dental professionals, but prior registration is required. CPD certificates for the webinar, and on-demand access to the recording, will be available to non-members on a chargeable basis, but provided free of charge to College members.

The survey of primary care staff in England is part of the PRESSURE study, which is examining:

  • the impact of healthcare professionals’ own experiences of domestic abuse and coercive control
  • whether dental practices and other healthcare employers have useful policies for staff who are experiencing domestic abuse
  • what help and support healthcare professionals who have experienced domestic abuse seek or might need; and
  • what implications there may be for managers and senior staff

The study is independent of the NHS and healthcare regulators, and is for healthcare workers who have experienced abuse, control, or violent behaviour from a partner, ex-partner, or family member, and for staff who may support healthcare workers.

The survey closes on Sunday 4 December 2022, and its findings will inform recommendations to help improve healthcare employers’ policies.

If you have experienced domestic abuse, YOU ARE NOT ALONE, and there are people ready to listen and help. Details of support options are included in the survey, including the National Domestic Abuse Helpline (0808 2000 247 – 24/7), and Respect Men’s Advice Line (0808 8010327 – Mon–Fri 10am-8pm).