Understanding the pregnancy and parenting experiences and maternity care needs of survivors of sexual violence in adulthood

Lead Research Organisation: King's College London
Department Name: Health Service and Population Research


Sexual violence (SV) is a form of gender-based violence and a global public health concern. Globally it is estimated that 35% of women have experienced domestic or sexual violence and in the UK approximately 14% of women have been sexually abused in adulthood. Survivors of SV are at a greater risk of developing perinatal mental and physical health problems. Thus, the perinatal period is a vulnerable time for survivors and maternity services play a key role in identifying and responding to needs.
A small body pf existing research has largely focused on experiences and needs of survivors of childhood sexual abuse (CSA), highlighting how aspects pregnancy and maternity care can re-create past abuse. However, research with survivors of CSA may not be generalisable to survivors of adult sexual abuse (ASA).
The current research will address these evidence gaps by conducting a systematic review of available qualitative studies examining experiences and needs of survivors of SV, interviewing survivors of ASA about their experiences of pregnancy, parenting and maternity care, and conducting focus groups with maternity care providers to explore how they can better support survivors.


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Studentship Projects

Project Reference Relationship Related To Start End Student Name
ES/P000703/1 30/09/2017 29/09/2027
2107383 Studentship ES/P000703/1 30/09/2018 15/09/2022 Siofra Peeren
Description Speaking with the Department of Health and Social care about my research and writing them a policy brief were tangible outcomes, but less tangible outcome of that is that I now have a connection with the policy lead on violence against women and girls in the women's health team. They have already been in contact with me at my KCL email to send me information about their vision for the women's health strategy, evidencing that I have made a direct link with a relevant policy team as a direct result of networking during my internship at the Home Office. Liaising with The Survivors Trust and them agreeing to publish a summary of findings on their website. I have yet to send them a summary but they said they would do it. Speaking about my research with Survivors Voices Planning a public engagement event in summer 2022 where I will work with an artist to produce art inspired by research findings to inspire conversation and discussion from survivors of sexual violence, which will shape the research findings. I plan to recruit a group of survivors to consult on this project. Presenting at two conferences: ICSoR 2021 (provider interview findings) ECDV 2021 (systematic review). Plan to apply to present at several more conferences (IAWMH 2022, SVRI Forum 2022, SRIP online 2022)
First Year Of Impact 2021
Sector Healthcare
Impact Types Policy & public services

Description Research dissemination to the Department of Health and Social Care
Geographic Reach National 
Policy Influence Type Implementation circular/rapid advice/letter to e.g. Ministry of Health
Description Responded to a call for evidence on the impact of Covid-19 on people with protected characteristics
Geographic Reach National 
Policy Influence Type Contribution to a national consultation/review
URL https://committees.parliament.uk/call-for-evidence/94/
Description Early Career Researcher (ECR) Training Bursary Scheme
Amount £250 (GBP)
Organisation Violence, Abuse and Mental Health Network 
Sector Charity/Non Profit
Start 01/2022 
End 05/2022
Description Global Research Grant
Amount £2,000 (GBP)
Organisation King's College London 
Sector Academic/University
Country United Kingdom
Start 01/2022 
End 05/2022
Description Public Engagement Small Grant funding scheme (Round 12)
Amount £1,000 (GBP)
Organisation King's College London 
Sector Academic/University
Country United Kingdom
Start 03/2021 
End 07/2022