Hundreds of hospital staff will be trained to identify the signs of family violence and help patients experiencing harm to seek support as part of a $1.2 million boost from the Andrews Labor Government.
Minister for Health, Jill Hennessy, today announced that funding for the Strengthening Hospital Responses for Family Violence initiative would increase from $250,000 to more than $1.2 million this financial year.
The initiative will provide training to help 14 Victorian health services to better support patients who have experienced family violence, nine of which are being funded for the first time and three to support regional health services in the Grampians, Loddon Mallee and Hume.
Our new funding delivers on recommendation 95 from the Royal Commission into Family Violence that requires a ‘whole-of-hospital service model’ for responding to family violence in public hospitals within three to five years.
It will train hundreds of health service staff, equipping them to notice the signs, inquire sensitively, respond respectfully and provide a pathway to specialist family violence support services. This will result in earlier identification and quicker referral to services.
Three new training modules will also be developed focusing on elder abuse, sexual assault and rural and remote communities. Separate funding will also support a fourth module focusing on children.
Family violence is a health issue, and has a profound impact on a person’s physical and mental wellbeing.
The initiative, now in its third phase, recognises the vital role that health services play in recognising and responding to family violence.
As part of the second phase, a free toolkit was developed by The Women’s Hospital and Bendigo Health, in partnership with Our Watch, to improve the response of health service staff to prevent, identify and respond compassionately to people experiencing family violence. A second edition of the toolkit is being launched today.
It features resources such as training presentations, policies, procedures and guidelines that assist healthcare workers to identify and support people experiencing family violence, and refer them to the most appropriate services.
Quotes attributable to Minister for Health Jill Hennessy
“Healthcare workers have a real role to play in responding to family violence. For many people, their doctor is someone they respect and trust.”
“Doctors and nurses may be the first person someone experiencing harm will speak to – or the first person to see the signs of violence.”
Quotes attributable to Minister for Housing, Disability and Ageing Martin Foley
“We are working with our healthcare workers to ensure they have right skills to equip them to provide the best care and response to elderly Victorians who are experiencing family violence.”