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The ‘My Body Back’ (MBB) Clinic at St Bartholomew’s Hospital in London, UK was awarded the 2016 Faculty of Sexual & Reproductive Health Care (FSRH) David Bromham Annual Memorial Award for work that has furthered the practice of sexual and reproductive healthcare through inspiration, innovation and energy. This article is adapted from the authors’ presentation delivered at the FSRH Current Choices Conference 2016 and describes the clinic and its rationale. Further articles describing the service evaluation and clinical outcomes are in preparation.
The My Body Back Project helps women who have experienced sexual violence. These women often feel isolated, traumatised and unable to access healthcare.1 Founded in August 2015, the MBB Clinic is a unique cervical screening clinic designed for such women.
Why is there a need for a special cervical smear clinic for women who have been sexually abused?
One in five women does not attend for cervical screening; among these are those who have experienced sexual violence.2–4 There is evidence to suggest that sexually abused women may be at increased risk of cervical cancer and avoid healthcare, including cervical screening.5–8 Pavan Amara set up the MBB Project as a result of her own experiences following rape. Pavan, a freelance journalist, interviewed women who had experienced sexual violence, and research nurse Louise Cadman separately carried out a study in this group of women, researching access and uptake of cervical screening. Informed by the women themselves, they both reached similar conclusions regarding the need for specialised care around cervical screening for women who have experienced sexual violence. As a consequence this collaborative clinic was set up to offer these women the opportunity for equal access to healthcare.
Listening to Pavan and Louise at the 2014 FSRH Current Choices Conference in London describing the difficulties for these women and highlighting the need for specialised clinical services to enable them to have their often long-overdue smears, Jill Zelin was inspired to say …
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