Last year, partly funded by the Law Faculty Research Support Fund, Camilla Pickles and Jonathan Herring arranged a seminar on issues around violence and control during childbirth. This seminar was based around the World Health Organisation statement 'Prevention and elimination of disrespect and abuse during childbirth' which says that:
Across the world many women experience disrespectful, abusive, or neglectful treatment during childbirth in facilities. These practices can violate women’s rights, deter women from seeking and using maternal health care services and can have implications for their health and well-being.
The seminar brought together experts from around the world to discuss abuse during labour, sometimes known as obstetric violence.
'Childbirth, Vulnerability and Law: Exploring Issues of Violence and Control, 1st Edition', edited by Camilla and Jonathan, based on this seminar has now been published and is, the authors believe, the first to explore in depth the issues raised around abuse during childbirth. Exploring the nature of vulnerability during childbirth, and the factors which make childbirth a site for violence and control, the book looks at the role of law in the regulation of professional intervention in childbirth. The WHO statement and other published work on ‘mistreatment’, ‘obstetric violence’, ‘birth trauma’, ‘birth rape’, and ‘dehumanised care’ all point to the presence of vulnerability, violence, and control in childbirth. This collected edition explores these issues in the experience of those giving birth, and for those providing obstetric services. It further offers insights regarding legal avenues of redress in the context of this emerging area of concern. Using violence, vulnerability, and control as a lens through which to consider multiple facets of the law, the book brings together innovative research from an interdisciplinary selection of authors.