Patients Affected by Reproductive Coercion

There is a clear link between domestic violence, reproductive coercion and unplanned pregnancy. Reproductive coercion is a recently emerged term but is used to describe interference with reproductive autonomy that denies a person’s decision-making and access to options. It typically takes three different forms:

  1. pregnancy coercion, where a person is forced or manipulated into becoming pregnant;
  2. birth-control sabotage, where a person is prevented from using contraception or her contraception is tampered with;
  3. control of pregnancy outcomes, where a person is forced to continue or terminate a pregnancy.

The health sector plays a critical role in screening for reproductive coercion and providing medical care and assistance to people affected. For many people presenting with unplanned pregnancy, a visit to a health practitioner is their first and only step towards accessing support and care; however, practitioners sometimes feel they don’t have the skills or knowledge to do this effectively. The resources in this section are intended to build the capacity and skills of practitioners to identify reproductive coercion and to support people affected in a sensitive manner.

(Sources: Children by Choice, and ‘How forced pregnancies and abortions deny women control over their own bodies’ by Laura Tarzia and Molly Wellington, University of Melbourne)

  • RACGP Clinical Guidelines on Abuse and Violence

    These guidelines offer practitioners in general practice easy and evidence-based guidance on appropriate identification and response to patients experiencing abuse and violence.

    View Guidelines

  • Children by Choice: Screening for Violence

    An overview of potential screening questions that practitioners might use to identify violence a patient's life. The site also includes points to note and red flags for consideration when making decicions about further support.

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  • Children by Choice: Contraception for Women Living with Violence

    This resource provides information about situations in which a woman's contraceptive use has been compromised due to violence in her life. It includes factors that helps the practitioner assess which contraceptive option is the safest and most appropriate to use by the woman. Available to download as a PDF also.

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  • AMA Manual: Supporting Patients Experiencing Family Violence

    This AMA Manual is intended to assist medical practitioners to identify and support patients experiencing family violence, recognising their role in the early detection, intervention and treatment of patients.

    View Manual

  • Children by Choice: Print Resources

    Children by Choice has a variety of printed resources available for organisations and services to support women's reproductive health choices. Available in both print and electronically, including translations in eight languages. While some of the resources are specific to Queensland, many of them are generic and can be used independent of location, such as the Reproductive Coercion brochure, the Reproductive Coercion and Contraception Resource, and the Waiting Room Posters.

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Children By Choice: Reproductive Coercion Training Modules

The three short videos in this playlist are a series of training modules created by Children by Choice and intended for providers of medical abortion.