Intimate partner violence (IPV) is a continuum of abuse, including homicide, minor and severe physical assault, sexual assault, psychological abuse, including threats, harassment, coercion and intimidation. It can contribute to poor mental health (post-traumatic stress disorder, depression, suicidal ideation) and physical injuries such as facial trauma (i.e., orbital fractures, lacerations and loosening of teeth). It is prevalent in England and Wales, where 5.0% of adults (estimated 2.4 million adults) aged 16 years and over have experienced IPV in the year ending March 2022. Within London, some of the highest rates of IPV offenses were reported in East London, including Newham, Tower Hamlets, Barking and Dagenham. However, IPV may be under reported as many (i.e., those from underserved populations) may be unlikely to report experiences due to issues around social/cultural desirability, fear and possibly a lack of knowledge and/or understanding of how particular behaviours constitute violence and abuse. This may consequently result in a lack of uptake from services and highlights issues surrounding barrier to accessing care. It is thus imperative to explore alternative environments in which help, support and early treatment interventions for IPV and its sequelae can be delivered and accessed. Facial trauma clinics may be a candidate, as individuals are referred due to a physical injury which requires care, rather than for psychological or IPV support which is often associated with stigma. This PhD project will 1) explore the prevalence and presentation of facial trauma amongst survivors of intimate partner violence; and 2) investigate the role facial trauma clinics in the delivery of support and provision for survivors of intimate partner violence in East London. Findings from this work will be important as it will highlight whether Facial trauma clinics can be used as gateways to providing support and improve the outcomes of survivors of IPV. It will provide insight into what a co designed vision of an ‘ideal’ service would be from the perspective of survivors of IPV with facial trauma. This PhD will be completed in partnership between Barts Health NHS Trust, Saving Faces and Queen Mary, University of London.
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