More Support for Western Health to Help People Experiencing Family Violence

Western Health staff will be trained to identify the signs of family violence and assist people experiencing violence to seek support as part of a $60,000 Andrews Labor Government funding boost.

Member for Altona District and Minister for Health Jill Hennessy this week announced that Western Health would share in $1.2 million in funding for the Strengthening Hospital Responses for Family Violence initiative.

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.

This 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.

Western Health will receive funding to continue their work giving staff the skills they need to better respond to family violence.

This will support the implementation of the service model, including development of strategies to engage hospital personnel, adaptation or development of relevant policies, protocols and guidelines, and the development of relevant policies, procedures and guidelines to support staff experiencing family violence.

Family violence is a health issue, and has a profound impact on 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 victims of family violence.

It features resources such as training presentations, policies, procedures and guidelines that assist healthcare workers to identify and support victims of family violence, and refer them to the most appropriate services.

Addressing family violence is a key priority for the Andrews Labor Government. The Government established Australia’s first Royal Commission into Family Violence and in the Victorian Budget 2016/17 delivered $572 million to begin responding to its recommendations.

Quotes attributable to Member for Altona District and Minister for Health, Jill Hennessy

“Healthcare workers at Western Health have a real role to play in responding to family violence. For many people, a doctor or nurse might be the first person they talk to.”

“We are helping staff at Western Health to recognise the signs of violence and help patients experiencing harm to seek support.”

“Our healthcare workers are here to keep us safe and healthy, and we are supporting them to do just that.”

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