- In progress
Who is leading the change
- Department of Health and Human Services
Slot gameThe Victorian Government resource public hospitals to implement a whole-of-hospital model for responding to family violence, drawing on evaluated approaches in Victoria and elsewhere.
Slot gameFrontline hospital staff are uniquely placed to identify and provide early support to victim survivors of family violence and their families. The Strengthening Hospital Responses to Family Violence initiative ensures those staff have the skills and experience to play a central role in reducing the enduring impact of family violence.
The model for implementing a whole-of-hospital response to family violence was developed by the Royal Women’s Hospital and Bendigo Health and was piloted in 4 other health services in 2015. The roll out of the initiative is now led by the Royal Women's Hospital and Bendigo Health and focuses on building the capacity and capability of Victorian public health services to deliver a whole-of-hospital response to family violence.
Staff receive training that is designed to equip them with the skills and knowledge to identify patients who may be at risk of family violence and connect them to appropriate support services. This may include a hospital social worker, if available, or the statewide 24/7 phone response service provided by Safe Steps.
Slot gameStaff are not trained to be experts in dealing with family violence. They are trained to identify the signs and connect patients to the specialised support they may require.
The resources developed for the initiative by the Royal Women’s Hospital ensure that all hospitals have access to a suite of evidence-based tools to support the training of their staff. This toolkit is freely available on the Royal Women’s Hospital website and includes action plans, referral pathways, practical guides and examples for each health service to customise to meet the needs of their staff and patients.
The Government has committed $38.4 million to support the development and implementation of the Strengthening Hospital Responses to Family Violence initiative for 5 years from 2016/17.
Funding was rolled out to 15 health services in 2016–17, with the Royal Women’s Hospital and Bendigo Health funded as sector leads (metro and rural/regional) to support those health services. Twenty-seven health services have now been funded to implement the initiative and provide mentoring and support to the remaining 62 public health services in a regional hub-and-spoke style model. The funding has supported the employment of project workers and staff trainers, and has increased access to internal secondary consultation services, such as social workers, for patients who disclose family violence.
A major focus for the initiative in 2017–18 has been the development and implementation of workplace support programs for staff. The Royal Women’s Hospital recognised that some staff who undertake Strengthening Hospital Responses to Family Violence training had then disclosed their own experience of family violence. This has taken significant effort and resources but has contributed significantly to a shift in workplace culture in many health services.
Slot gameIt is also an example of how well the sector can respond to emerging issues. The Royal Women’s Hospital recognised this unanticipated need for support and addressed it. Additional funding was provided to support the Royal Women’s Hospital in developing a set of resources that is now available to all Victorian public health services.
At the end of 2018 approximately 28,000 training attendances had been reported by health services. This is a significant increase in training numbers in the last 12 months, reflecting the maturity of implementation.
The fourth edition of the Strengthening Hospital Responses to Family Violence Tool Kit was released in August 2018 at the annual statewide forum. Many of the tools have been updated and refined and a number of new tools were added. A further update to the tool kit, currently in the early stages of planning, will incorporate changes required by the implementation of the Multi-Agency Risk Assessment and Management Framework (MARAM) and the child and adult information sharing legislation.
- Forecast implementation date: 31 March 2021.
Reviewed 17 May 2020