One of the times a woman is most at risk from domestic violence and abuse is when she is pregnant. Our MiDASS service works closely with midwives to help identify potential signs of domestic violence and abuse and give midwives the power to refer patients to get the help they need.
What is MiDASS?
The MiDASS (Midwifery and Domestic Abuse Support Service) project has two strands, both focused on the identification of domestic violence and abuse (DVA) during pregnancy.
MiDASS offers first and foremost, domestic abuse training and a referral pathway for maternity staff as well as holistic support for pregnant women, both during pregnancy and in the postpartum period (up to 28 days after birth).
How does it work?
As part of the Trust policy, Midwives must routinely ask all pregnant women in maternity about domestic abuse where it is safe to do so. Upon disclosure, the midwife offers the MiDASS service to the patient and refers them to Manchester Women's Aid, if the patient consents.
How was the MiDASS programme developed?
The key objective of the MiDASS project was to bring North Manchester General Hospital (NMGH) and University Hospital South Manchester (UHSM) in line with the service offered at St Mary’s Hospital (SMH). Since 2010, SMH has hosted the MCC PATHway project, which is the basis for the MiDASS service. PATHway project employs an Independent Domestic Violence Advocate to sit within the maternity unit and offer support around DVA for staff and patients.
What impact has MiDASS made?
The efficacy of the MiDASS Project in identifying and referring victims of DVA is demonstrated by the fact that in the financial year 2015-16, there were 0 referrals attributed to midwives and only 17 from hospitals. Whereas, since its inception, MiDASS has been able to support over 800 women, and will no doubt see further increase as we become further embedded into the Trust.
Initially, PTMWA was commissioned by Manchester City Council to deliver the MiDASS project with an initial 12 months' funding, commencing on 1 April 2016. However, due to the success of the project, MiDASS has been running successfully since its implementation in 2016.
Feedback from a midwife:
“The role of the IDVA has always been very highly regarded and appreciated at St. Mary’s Wythenshawe Maternity Unit. We are based in a catchment area that sees a high incidence of domestic violence and abuse. This is obviously complicated by the fact that a child is due to be born. We know DV/DA increases during pregnancy/following childbirth so access to our own IDVA is crucial in ensuring the correct support is in place for these patients. Our onsite IDVA’s have also provided training to our staff and we have always received very positive feedback regarding this. The IDVA worker has been an immense support to us during the COVID 19 Pandemic and always responds promptly to our queries. Without an IDVA our patients would not receive this crucial bespoke support that I am sure is imperative in helping to keep mother’s and baby’s safe and I hope you are able to continue to provide us with an IDVA role.”
- Sue Woods, Senior Specialist Midwife Safeguarding Children, St.Mary’s at Wythenshawe Hospital