Understanding violence the key
ALPINE Health’s commitment to identifying and assisting victims of family violence was officially launched last week during a morning tea at the Myrtleford Hospital.
The organisation’s chief executive officer Lyndon Seys, spoke at the gathering as did health promotion worker Lisa Neville.
Ms Neville told North East Media that Alpine Health was not suddenly becoming family violence experts, but will train staff to be able to notice the signs and sensitively act.
“The concept behind Strengthening Hospital Responses to Family Violence ( SHRFV) is to be able to notify hospitals to when there are signs of family violence and then to know when to engage into what’s called a sensitive enquiry and to streamline the referral processes into the specialist family violence services,” she said.
All hospitals across the state are expected to have family violence response systems in place by 2020 but Alpine Health are ahead of many.
“All different hospitals are at different stages of it but because we have been doing so much work in this space and for some time, we are on top of a lot of the things that we need to do,” Ms Neville said.
“We recognise that with one in four women experiencing family violence and an 85 per cent female workforce it means that we are likely to have clinicians and staff who have experienced family violence in their lifetime.
“So this is about changing the dynamic about family violence and the conversation around it, and to recognise that family violence is a health issue and that (understanding of) it’s now going to be a part of Alpine Health.”
Ms Neville said that the changes should raise awareness of the prevalence of family vio- lence, a figure that has jumped in the Alpine Shire by 11 per cent across the past year.
“That means people are either feeling more comfortable and confident to report which is great, it’s coming out from behind closed doors,” she said.
“There’s a whole system change happening for a lot of government agencies and it’s quite enormous.
“The most important thing is to understand the definition of family violence as well as looking at our patients, clients and residents and noticing the signs to be able to sensitively enquire and then refer to the appropriate services.”
THERE TO HELP: Alpine Health staff and community members gathered to launch a new family violence initiative last week.