Research to investigate domestic abuse in older people

(L-R) Frazer Underwood, Associate Chief Nurse - Royal Cornwall Hospitals NHS Trust; Zoe Cooper, Safeguarding Lead Nurse at Royal Cornwall Hospitals NHS Trust; and Professor Jill Shawe, Director of the University of Plymouth Institute of Health and Community 

A nurse who specialises in safeguarding has won a grant to explore domestic abuse in older people. 

Zoe Cooper, from Royal Cornwall Hospitals NHS Trust (RCHT), will be working with the University of Plymouth to review the literature available on the impact of recent legislative changes in domestic abuse policy on older people.

The information will help inform a Task & Finish group on what factors to consider when designing support services, as well as understanding why someone experiencing domestic abuse may not choose to access them. 

Zoe will be undertaking the work after winning the Joanna Briggs Institute (JBI) Systematic Review Training Prize from the Clinical School at RCHT. The University of Plymouth is a JBI Centre of Excellence – making it a prestigious hub of expertise through which high quality programs of evidence synthesis, transfer and implementation are achieved.

As a lead safeguarding nurse at RCHT, she said: 

“When people think of domestic abuse, it’s often depicted as a younger or middle-aged person suffering – and a lot of resources are indeed geared up for younger women. But it’s important to acknowledge that domestic abuse can take many forms and be experienced by many people.

“There could be dozens of reasons why someone older might not want to access help – for example, cultural differences suggest that they don’t want to leave a marriage or seek help, as it could be admitting they’re failing. So by exploring the literature available, we can have a better picture of what the problems are and how to help. I’m so pleased to have won the JBI Systematic Review Training Prize, and look forward to undertaking the study at the University of Plymouth.”

Dr Katrina Bannigan, accredited JBI reviewer at the University of Plymouth, said: 

“Zoe will be trained and supported to lead a JBI review where participants can learn how to develop a focused question, search for relevant literature and appraise and synthesise evidence arising from research. We’re delighted she has won this prize and we’re looking forward to working with her.”

Based at the University of Adelaide, Australia, the Joanna Briggs Institute (JBI) offers healthcare providers around the world the best available evidence to inform their clinical decision-making at the point of care.

The University of Plymouth achieved Centre of Excellence status in 2017, joining 80 centres around the world that have established themselves as a prestigious hub of expertise.

The University of Plymouth Centre for Innovations in Health and Social Care; a Joanna Briggs Institute Centre of Excellence

The University of Plymouth Centre for Innovations in Health and Social Care; a Joanna Briggs Institute Centre of Excellence is a Joanna Briggs Collaborating Centre.

Supporting the synthesis of evidence to directly meet the needs of the health and social care sector and its stakeholders.

Find out more about the centre 

South West Clinical Schools

The Clinical Schools are a collaboration between the University of Plymouth and NHS Trusts working with nurses, midwives, and allied health professionals at all stages of their clinical and academic development.

Our work with local health services has identified the urgent need to capture improvements in patient and family outcomes, as well as ensure that existing evidence is used to best effect and increase the amount of research led by non-medical health professionals. To meet these needs, we have invested in Clinical Schools, which are professorial-led centres, in five of our local NHS Trusts.

The main focus for the Clinical Schools is to encourage nurses, midwives and other allied health professionals to look at their practice, challenge current thinking, try out new ideas and work out ways to measure what they're doing.

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