Research into domestic abuse and menopause in the UK is scarce. There is also very little evidence around the experiences of mid-life women experiencing domestic abuse in the UK. This is despite the fact that over a third (38%) of women killed by their partner or ex-partner are in the 36-55 age range (Femicide Census, 2018). In order to explore and present the links between menopause and domestic abuse, AVA recently launched a new project in partnership with IRISi, and with support from the Emmanuel Kaye Foundation.
Named ‘Stuck in the Middle with You’, this pioneering study was the first of its kind in the UK and aimed to find out how women’s contact with General Practices for menopause-related symptoms could provide opportunities for disclosure and support.
Drawing on a literature review, peer-led research and a consultation with general practitioners, emerging findings indicate a two-way relationship between menopause and domestic abuse. Key insights include:
- Menopause impacts women’s relationships, especially with their intimate partner/s and family members.
- Domestic abuse impacts menopause symptoms; with negative symptoms or experiences compounding or obscuring one another.
- Women view menopause as a pivotal moment for making life changes, suggesting that menopause may be a key time when women are looking for support to escape domestic abuse.
- Women highlight a number of intersecting barriers in the way of adequate support in General Practice settings, including, but not limited to: short appointments; lack of routine enquiry; inadequate mental health support; negative experiences with male GPs; generic or unhelpful information on menopause; few/no onwards signposting to specialist support for either menopause or domestic abuse.
- Our findings also suggest women experiencing both menopause and domestic abuse are likely to face significantly elevated health needs. A clear lack of specialist support or sensitive routine inquiry means menopause-related appointments are currently a missed opportunity for intervention.
With the advent of the new government Menopause Taskforce and increased media interest in menopause and its impact, we believe this is an important moment to raise awareness of domestic abuse survivors’ needs.
Please click below to access:
- Menopause and Domestic Abuse: Brief Guidance for Staff and Clinicians in General Practice
- Menopause and Domestic Abuse – Early Findings from AVA’s Stuck in the Middle with You Project
- Stuck in the Middle with You – Literature Review