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Strengthening Hospitals Responses to Family Violence in South Gippsland

Updated: Dec 30, 2018

Pictured above from L to R: Nikki Stanes – Hospital Response to Preventing Family Violence Co-ordinator (Bass Coast Health); Leonie Wolf – Midwife (Bass Coast Health); Linda Fiddelaers – Midwifery Educator (GSHS); Selina Northover – Director Primary Healthcare (GSHS); Louise Sparkes – Executive Director Acute Care/Chief Nurse (Bass Coast Health); Marion Bowron – Acting Director of Nursing (South Gippsland Hospital); and Helen Page – Health Promotion Officer (Bass Coast Health).

Family Violence is a complex and important health issue. In 2017/18, Victoria Police data shows that there were 395 incidents of family violence reported to police within South Gippsland Shire - a marked increase from 127 incidents in 2007/08.

This does not include the many incidents that are not reported to police, or qualify the impact of incidents on individuals, families, or the community as a whole. Indeed, our local health services acknowledge the impact of family violence is a significant health concern.

The Strengthening Hospital Responses to Family Violence (SHRFV) is a state-wide initiative funded by the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS). The SHRFV initiative is an outcome of the Royal Commission into Family Violence which identified that health services have been ill-resourced to respond and identify both staff and consumers affected by family violence. Across the South Coast sub-region, Bass Coast Health, Gippsland Southern Health Service and South Gippsland Hospital have partnered to form a project team, which has worked towards training more than 160 staff across the three health services in the identification of, and response to, disclosures of family violence.

From 25th of November- the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, to 10th of December - Human Rights Day, the 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence Campaign is a time to galvanize action to end violence against women and girls around the world. 

Through the 16 Days, these health services will be providing intensive training to staff, and have committed to an extensive media campaign to highlight that family violence is not ok and that they are united in their commitment to breaking the silence around family violence within our community.

We know that family violence is a health issue with profound psychological and physical impacts and that the health sector is a critical entry point for identifying family violence and offering survivors access to support services.

The sub-regional SHRFV project team needs your help, and is seeking expressions of interest from community members to join the SHRFV Reference Group. Interested individuals are encouraged to contact project lead Claudia Murray-White on 0436 632 095 for more information.


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