OPEP-DV focuses on professional education and training of physiotherapy professionals working with women so that they can identify and provide assistance to victims of domestic violence (DV). The project’s goal is to develop a standalone training course and an online education module on domestic violence for current and future physiotherapists and other healthcare workers (e.g., nurses, midwives and care workers) working closely and on regular basis with female patients.
Health care professionals encounter numerous individuals in their practice, and given the high rates of intimate partner violence within the population, it is important that they are aware of how to identify and respond to domestic violence (DV).
One of the major barriers is lack of formal training (Alvarez et al, 2016). This includes education that starts in vocational schools and continues during their career, to ensure that best practices are used. In response to this, educational content on domestic violence has started to be developed for some healthcare providers such as nurses and midwifes. However almost no courses are being offered to physiotherapists in Europe and especially in our partner countries (Estonia, Greece, Spain, Cyprus). Health care professionals who work with their patients one-on-one, regularly, and have good rapport with them, such as physiotherapists, are well suited for noticing signs of DV in their patients.
With OPEP DV we are targeting the gap in the skills of the physiotherapists so they can provide better service and improve the resultativeness of treatment the patients receive.