Un­der­stand­ing vi­o­lence the key

Alpine Observer - - Front Page - BY TATE SPI­TERI

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.”

PHOTO: Tate Spi­teri

THERE TO HELP: Alpine Health staff and com­mu­nity mem­bers gath­ered to launch a new fam­ily vi­o­lence ini­tia­tive last week.

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