Educating university allied health students about gender-based violence: Report of a pilot study




professional education, health professional curricula, gender-based violence, sexual harassment, students, survey


Introduction: Sexual harassment, bullying and discrimination occur across a range of healthcare settings, with frequent complaints made to health professional registration boards of Australia. Health professional education provides an ideal opportunity to ensure students understand the nature of gender-based violence (GBV) and how to prevent and address such behavior. However, there has been minimal health professional curricula that incorporates an integrated focus on gender. The aim of this study was to increase awareness and knowledge of pre-registration health students of the context of GBV and for participants to learn bystander approaches to effectively intervene to reduce violence.

Methods: A violence prevention workshop incorporating a bystander approach was developed as a key component of the curriculum for a single discipline cohort of health students. Participants completed a survey pre and post workshop, where they provided responses, on a 5-point Likert scale, to statements exploring attitudes, knowledge and behaviours in relation to behaviours that constitute GBV. Within-subject pre- and post-intervention statistical analysis was completed.

Results: The results demonstrated several significant positive changes to knowledge and attitude of the participants in relation to GBV.

Conclusions: The findings of the project can inform the development of integrated gender-focused education as a core competency for preparing health professional students across a range of disciplines in clinical health and public health curricula.

Author Biographies

Frances Doran, Southern Cross Universtiy

Dr Frances Doran is a Senior Lecturer at the School of Health and Human Sciences, Southern Cross University. An experienced Academic who has taught across a range of health disciplines. Her research interests relate to reducing gender based vilence, cultural safety and health promotion. 

Paul Orrock, Southern Cross University

AUL J ORROCK PhD MAppSc (Res) GradCertHEd DO is an osteopathic clinician, academic and researcher. He has completed funded projects on the health workforce for Osteopathy Australia and educational projects on the development and assessment of clinical reasoning. His masters was a biomechanical study on gait, and the doctoral research was a mixed methods exploration of the osteopathic profession and the development of a pragmatic clinical trial method that reflects whole practice. Paul has published and presented his clinical and educational research nationally and internationally. He is interested in developing models of complex interventions and testing their effectiveness in clinical trials. 


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How to Cite

Doran, F., & Orrock, P. (2021). Educating university allied health students about gender-based violence: Report of a pilot study. Focus on Health Professional Education: A Multi-Professional Journal, 22(3), 65–77.



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