Family violence is a serious health issue
With healthcare workers in a unique position to identify family violence, Alfred Health is supporting staff to respond sensitively and safely to patients needing help.
“We all have a responsibility to act and we recognise that healthcare workers can provide a frontline response to family violence,” said Melissa Bernstein, a team leader at Caulfield Community Health Service.
“We are training staff to identify patients who may need help and then refer those patients to more specialised staff (social workers) and support services.”
The training is being delivered as part of Alfred Health’s commitment to Strengthening Hospitals Response to Family Violence (SHRFV).
Violence against women has been highlighted by the World Health Organisation as a “global health problem of epidemic proportions requiring urgent action”. The focus of this year’s 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence campaign is ‘bystander action’. Bystander action includes speaking out about and responding to sexism, discrimination and inequality.
“We know gender inequality is a key driver of family violence. Therefore, we are also encouraging our staff to complete gender equity training, which aims to provide knowledge, techniques and tools to change attitudes and behaviours,” said Ms Bernstein.
During 16 Days of Activism (25 November – 10 December), Alfred Health staff are participating in initiatives to increase awareness of family violence and encourage the community to act when they see or hear something that is disrespectful.
Do you need help?
Call the 24/7 Safe Steps family violence response phone line on 1800 015 188.
If you cannot safely call the 24/7 phone line, please email firstname.lastname@example.org and a support worker will reply to you.
If you have been threatened or you are fearful for yourself, a child or a family member – call 000.