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Domestic and family violence

Domestic and family violence is the use or threat of harm to control another person. In many cases, it can remain hidden as the person causing harm establishes control through fear and may use coercive behaviours such as intimidation and other forms of psychological abuse.

  • One in four women and one in thirteen men in Australia have experienced violence by an intimate partner.
  • In Australia, on average, one woman a week is murdered by her current or former partner.
  • Almost ten women a day are hospitalised for assault injuries perpetrated by a spouse or domestic partner.
  • It has been estimated that full-time GPs are seeing up to five women per week who have experienced some form of intimate partner abuse – physical, emotional, sexual – in the past 12 months

In our Needs Assessment, integrated services to respond to domestic and family violence at a primary health care level were identified as a priority for our region and the Recognise, Respond, Refer program was developed in response.

Recognise, Respond, Refer program

Brisbane South PHN’s Recognise, Respond, Refer (RRR) program, is an integrated health response to domestic and family violence with strategies and initiatives specific to our local and regional needs as identified in our Needs Assessment and ongoing stakeholder engagement.

The RRR program aims to support primary health care professionals to improve overall system responsiveness to people experiencing domestic and family violence and ultimately improve outcomes for these individuals and their families. It seeks to achieve this through the implementation of an overarching system integration model that positions the primary health care network as part of the broader system response to domestic and family violence.

The integrated system model implemented through the RRR program was developed by Brisbane South PHN in partnership with The Australian Centre of Social Innovation through an evidence-based, human-centred design process. It comprises six influencing activities that support primary care to take up a defined role in the systemic response to domestic and family violence, as shown below. The model is designed to be place-based, so the practical implementation of each of the activities can be adapted to the specific conditions and needs of a local community.

A national trial of Brisbane South PHN’s Recognise, Respond, Refer program is due to commence in July 2020, with the program being tested in five PHN sites across Australia, including the Brisbane south region.

Further development work is currently underway to ensure the program can support primary care to best respond to domestic and family violence in the context of people’s specific culture, identity and experiences (e.g. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander, multicultural and refugee background, LGBTIQ+, disability). This development work also includes ensuring the program supports primary care to safely and effectively work with perpetrators of domestic and family violence.

DFV Local Link

Brisbane South PHN is rolling out Domestic and Family Violence (DFV) Local Link across the region to support general practices to respond to domestic and family violence. This service offers a single point of referral for patients affected by domestic and family violence, as well as advice and support to enable better identification and response to domestic and family violence in general practices. It is currently available to general practices in the Redlands, Logan, Beaudesert/Jimboomba and Brisbane areas.

Domestic and family violence training for practices

Through the RRR Program, Brisbane South PHN delivers interactive, case-study based training to general practice staff that explores practical measures to support patients affected by domestic and family violence.

The RRR program is:

  • whole-of-organisation training that outlines the roles for each team member when responding to domestic and family violence
  • RACGP-accredited and developed by Central Queensland University’s Queensland Centre for Domestic and Family Violence Research in collaboration with General Practitioners and survivors of domestic and family violence
  • delivered free-of-charge in general practices by expert trainers.

The training is currently being updated and will be re-launched later in 2020.

More information

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