Maternity ClinicThe UK’s first maternity clinic for women who have been victims of rape and sexual assault has opened in London.

The clinic, which will be run in conjunction with Bart’s Health NHS Trust, will provide specialist care and antenatal support which will be delivered by specially trained midwives, psychologists and paediatricians.

Antenatal classes and breastfeeding advice specifically designed for women who have experienced sexual attacks will also be provided at the clinic.

Louise Silverton, Director of Midwifery at the Royal College of Midwives (RCM), commented:

“Specialist maternity care for women who have survived rape and sexual assaults is vital and the RCM is very pleased that such a service has now been launched in London.

One in five women in England and Wales has experienced rape, sexual assault and also childhood sexual abuse. This service will not only provide care for this group of vulnerable women but also support increasing the skills of a wider group of professionals who may be called upon to provide care for women who may only disclose a past history or may exhibit reawakening of earlier trauma.

“Women who have experienced sexual assault will often require individually tailored care from midwives and other health professionals they feel they can trust and that is why continuity of care in these cases is so very important.

“We know that women who have survived rape often have memories of the trauma stored away and labour can often trigger memories of this experience. The RCM hopes that this scheme will be introduced more widely across the UK.”