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Capacity building primary care responses to domestic violence in Brazil: designing a training model

conference contribution
posted on 2022-02-09, 04:39 authored by Vanessa Lucchesi, Marcos Signorelli, E Priotto, Leesa HookerLeesa Hooker, Angela Taft, Kelsey Hegarty
Abstract Background Violence against women (VAW) is a public health challenge in Brazil. The country ranks 6th globally for femicide, with a high prevalence of domestic violence, amplified by the pandemic. Primary healthcare (PHC) workers can play a significant role caring for survivors, but their training on how to identify and respond to survivors is a major gap. This study aimed to investigate frontline PHC workers' needs and concerns in the care of VAW survivors, aiming to co-design a participatory model of capacity building to be implemented in the Brazilian PHC. Methods This study is based on participatory action-research (PAR) through participant observation and in-depth interviews with an interdisciplinary team of 13 PHC workers from Paranaguá, South of Brazil. Data were collected between Aug/2020-Jan/2021, transcribed, coded and synthetized through thematic analysis. Results Major needs and concerns were: 1) unanimous need of capacity building for all PHC workers and managers; 2) training ideally should be face-to-face, and more than one day, based in practical cases (not just in theory); 3) clarifying the role of the cross-sectoral network and referral options; 4) contents needs to address confidentiality, qualified listening, empathy and respect, with practical guidance on how to approach survivors. Other issues included: integrating VAW approaches with violence against children and adolescents; ensuring PHC units have a private room to care for survivors; and electing a key professional in each unit, with more specialized knowledge, to support survivors and staff. Conclusions This PAR revealed key issues to collaboratively design a capacity building model for PHC in Brazil, tailored to local needs. The next step will be applying for funding to implement a pilot training. Key messages Frontline PHC workers routinely attend cases of VAW, therefore their insights are essential to design capacity building to care for survivors in PHC settings. Training healthcare workers to care for survivors of violence needs to address local concerns, targeting knowledge, skills and competences.


Publication Date



European Journal of Public Health


Oxford University Press







Name of conference

14th European Public Health Conference



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Rights Statement

© The Author(s) 2021. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the European Public Health Association. All rights reserved. This article is published and distributed under the terms of the Oxford University Press, Standard Journals Publication Model (

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