Picking up signs of domestic abuse

Medical staff will be trained on how to better respond to signs of family violence exhibited by patients. 153243 Picture: ROB CAREW

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By Aneeka Simonis

EAGLE-EYED nurses and doctors at Casey Hospital are set to become better equipped to pick up on signs of domestic abuse in patients.
Medical staff will be trained on how best to recognise signs of abuse and encourage victims to seek support as part of the $1.2 million state Strengthening Hospital Responses for Family Violence initiative.
Importantly, staff will be taught how to deal with family violence matters in a sensitive way in order to maintain the victim’s safety and dignity.
The training will be rolled out over the next three to five years to ensure Casey Hospital takes a more comprehensive approach to dealing with family violence as per the Royal Commission into Family Violence recommendations.
Casey Hospital is one of five health services to share in the $90,000 grant allocated to Monash Health.
Relevant current policies will be adapted to suit the changing direction of the hospital in addition to training which will build staff understanding of family violence and its drivers.
Clinicians will take part in specific training to help them better identify and respond to family violence.
Minister for Health Jill Hennessy said it was important the training focused on the need for family violence matters to be dealt with sensitively for the safety of victims who currently live in abusive environments.
“Doctors and nurses may be the first person someone experiencing harm will speak to – or the first person to see the signs of violence,” she said.
All hospitals now also have access to a free online toolkit helping staff identify signs of abuse, respond compassionately and refer them on to local welfare services.
Casey Hospital takes in patients across Cardinia Shire and City of Casey region.
They have of the highest rates of recorded family violence incidents in the state’s south-east.
Victoria Police reports showed that there were 1364 family violence incidents reported in Cardinia Shire during 2014/’15.
These figures were 15 per cent higher than the state average.
Last year, Cardinia Maternal Child and Health figures show that nurses supported 24 clients in one week alone.
Dandenong Hospital and Cranbourne Integrates Care Centre will also share in the family violence training fund.

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