Women’s Aid enlisting dentists in fight against domestic abuse

FOLLOWING on from its successful training courses with other local professionals, Fermanagh Women’s Aid (FWA) is running a training session for dental surgeries this week.

Any dentists in the area who have not yet signed up have been urged to get in touch and take part in the training, which takes place this Friday, February 28, and is being run in partnership with Omagh Women’s Aid, with support from the local Policing and Community Safety Partnership (PCSP).

Aimed at creating safe spaces for women, FWA have already carried out very successful training with various local professionals, from pharmacists to salon professionals to bank workers, and have been receiving referrals to the service as a result.


FWA training coordinator Michelle Alonso said this week’s training course was the first the service had launched that was designed specifically for dental professionals.

“Statistically, over 80 percent of women in an abusive relationship actually seek help from a healthcare professional,” said Ms Alonso. “As members of the dental profession, they could very well be the first or potentially only point of contact for a woman.”

Ms Alonso said the training was bespoke for dental professionals and would “provide an awareness for them specifically to understand the signs of abuse and neglect they could be seeing in their patients.”

“For them specifically, domestic violence is one of the most common causes of non-accidental injury for women in the UK, but it’s an extremely sensitive topic to raise to someone they suspect may have been subjected to it,” she said.

She noted that in many cases, a dentist may be the first to spot the signs, or that a woman who felt comfortable with their dentist may make a disclosure.

“That’s why it’s very important for us that dentists know the correct way to respond is a disclosure is made, or if they suspect an individual might be at risk or experiencing abuse,” she said.

“It’s because there’s a right way and a wrong way to speak to speak to somebody, to communicate with somebody, who has experienced abuse.


“We want to make sure they get it right, and we don’t silence women any more.

“We’re not asking dentists to deal with domestic violence, it’s so they can be in a position to signpost women to the likes of ourselves for support. They are in a position to do that.”

To sign up for the free domestic abuse training for dental professionals, contact 66328898 or email

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