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The Public Health Turn on Violence against Women – Swedish Healthcare’s readiness and governance

Research project Violence against women is a severe societal problem which requires coordinated actions in order to prevent and combat the violence.

A clear shift in the framing of violence against women in Sweden is noted, in that it is now increasingly often framed as a public health problem, as shift that we label 'the public health turn on violence against women'. The healthcare sector is often the first authority that women meet after having been exposed to violence. It is therefore of utmost importance that the caretaking of victims of violence develops and is of high quality and that health professionals have adequate competence so that the encounter with victims becomes a trustful meeting which can help women to disclose their situation. Furthermore, new forms for coordinated actions, prevention and interventions are required, which implies that the policy level plays a key role in governing the work for improvement. We focus on primary health services in this project and scrutinise the consequences, obstacles and possibilities of healthcare work after the public health turn on violence against women.

Head of project

Project overview

Project period:

2016-01-01 2018-12-31

Participating departments and units at Umeå University

Department of Nursing, Police Education Unit, Umeå Centre for Gender Studies

Research subject

Gender studies

Project description

The aim of the project is twofold; a) to analyse primary healthcare health services' readiness to deal with violence against women; b) to scrutinise governance through law and policy on violence against women in the healthcare sector. We perform a systematic review of policy documents on violence against women in Swedish county councils as well as legal frameworks for health systems and public health interventions, in order to explore how violence against women is defined by governing agencies, and how healthcare professionals are governed through these policies. We also conduct interviews with politicians, officials and health professionals in primary healthcare.