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Improving maternal and child health nurse care for vulnerable mothers


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Intimate partner violence is prevalent among recent mothers and can damage a mother's physical and emotional health, compromise her parenting and damage the child's current and future development. The MOVE pragmatic cluster randomised controlled trial examines whether an enhanced intervention model of maternal and child health nurses with new mothers experiencing partner violence can improve identification and referral of abused mothers and their children.

About the study

We combined a systematic review of guidance for community-based nurses with participatory action research involving nurse consultants from each of four intervention MCH teams. From these strategies we developed consensus clinician guidelines, strategies and resources for an enhanced model of care for MCH clients experiencing intimate partner violence. (Please contact Angela Taft if you would like to use these resources.)

We aimed for a sustainable model of care and drew on the theoretical framework provided by Normalisation Process Theory (May, 2007), which emphasises reinforcement of support for behaviour change at the political, team and individual level. The model included the more formal involvement of family violence services with maternal and child health nurse teams.

The new model was implemented in the four intervention communities for 12 months from April 2010 to April 2011. In September, we conducted an online impact survey (n=114, 71%) with nurses from both arms of the trial. We surveyed 10,000 mothers using the MCH services over the eight months, from April to December 2010, from both the four intervention and four comparison communities in a postal survey. Interviews with key stakeholders exploring the impact of the new model on their work were also completed.



Professor Angela Taft and Professor Rhonda Small

in collaboration with

Professor Cathy Humphreys and Professor Kelsey Hegarty, Department of General Practice, Melbourne University.

Research Officer: Leesa Hooker


Hooker L, Small R, Taft A. Understanding sustained domestic violence identification in maternal and child health nurse care: process evaluation from a two year follow-up of the MOVE trial. J Adv Nurs 2015; 72(3):533-544. Available from:

Hooker L, Small R, Humphreys C, Hegarty K, Taft A. Applying normalization process theory to understand implementation of a family violence screening and care model in maternal and child health nursing practice: a mixed method process evaluation of a randomised controlled trial. Implement Sci 2015; 10:39. Available from:

Taft AJ, Hooker L, Humphreys C, Hegarty KL, Walter R, Adams C, Agius P, Small R. Maternal and child health nurse screening and care for mothers experiencing domestic violence (MOVE): a cluster randomised trial. BMC Med 2015; 13: 150. Available from:

Taft A, Small R, Humphreys C, Hegarty K, Walter R, Adams C, Agius P. Enhanced maternal and child health nurse care for women experiencing intimate partner/family violence: protocol for MOVE, a cluster randomised trial of screening and referral in primary health care. BMC Public Health 2012; 12: 811. Available from:

more information


This project was funded by an ARC Linkage Project 2008–2011.

Privacy and access to information

Information collected is kept confidential and the data will be used only for the purposes of this study. We have research ethics approval to conduct the MOVE project.

For more information about the MOVE project, please contact Professor Angela Taft ( or Leesa Hooker (