New guidance for midwives to support women

By Julie Griffiths on 29 March 2018 Domestic Abuse

The RCM has published new guidance for midwives on supporting survivors of domestic abuse to vote safely.

The guidance Anonymous voter registration in the UK: supporting survivors of domestic abuse to register to vote will help midwives to support survivors of domestic abuse to remain anonymous on the electoral role to keep them safe from harm.

The RCM guidance is a response to new government regulations on elector anonymity, making it easier for people to apply to be anonymous on the electoral roll. Electoral anonymity is available to anyone whose safety could be under threat by having their name and address published in the electoral roll.

The list of professionals able to support a person’s application has been extended. It now includes NMC registered midwives and nurses and doctors registered with the GMC.

Previously this ‘attestation’ could only be done by people in relatively senior positions, such as superintendents of police or directors of social services.

The new rules came into force in England, Wales and Northern Ireland on 7 March 2018 and will apply in Scotland from 1 April 2018.

The guidance has been developed with the support of the Cabinet Office and the Electoral Commission and will help midwives to support women fleeing abuse, modern slavery or so-called ‘honour’ crimes to remain anonymous while safely exercising their right to vote.

RCM director for midwifery Louise Silverton said: ‘In this year celebrating 100 years of suffrage, I am really pleased that the regulations have been extended to include midwives. They are often the first professionals a woman may have to talk about issues such as domestic abuse. Midwives are ideally placed to offer support. This is very important guidance that I urge midwives to read.’

The RCM guidance can be read here. Details of the new regulations can be read here.