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The Centre for Family Violence Prevention is influencing how screening and first line response is being undertaken across Victoria.

Our key project in this area SUSTAIN, is developing sustainable ways to identify and respond to women experiencing domestic violence during antenatal care has informed the roll out of screening in antenatal care at the Women’s hospital.  We have developed a Health System Implementation model as a framework for screening and response to domestic violence in antenatal care, particularly in regional and rural settings with low resources. This work is being published by the Australian National Research Organisation for Women’s Safety who funded this research).

We are influencing policy and practice in the Victorian family violence reforms.

Our director Kelsey Hegarty is advising government on the roll out of the Multi Agency Risk Assessment and Management. Sue Matthews, the CEO of The Royal Women's Hospital, is the only health representative on the Family Violence state-wide Steering Committee, championing the role of the health sector.

Strengthening hospital responses to family violence program

Since 2014, the Victorian Government has funded The Royal Women's Hospital and Bendigo Health to lead the development and implementation of a framework to embed a whole-of-hospital approach to identify and respond to family violence. The Strengthening Hospital Responses to Family Violence program is now operationalised in 88 Victorian hospitals and health services, and successfully delivers on recommendation 95 of the Royal Commission into Family Violence. Further information about the Strengthening hospital responses to family violence program. Due to the program’s success:

  • In the last 18 months, 27,500 staff in Victorian hospitals have been trained, which is approximately 22% of the Victorian hospital workforce 
  • 81% of health services now have senior leadership engagement to effectively respond to family violence
  • 61% of health services have policies and procedures to support victim/survivors of family violence
  • 84% of health services now have established partnerships with local specialist family violence services.

The Women’s also led the 3rd state-wide forum attended by 325 professionals in August 2018. The event was launched by the Minister for Prevention of Family Violence, the Hon Natalie Hutchins. The 4th edition of the Strengthening Hospital Responses to Family Violence toolkit was launched in August 2018. This online resource includes over 30 new specialist tools that the Women’s co-designed with the health sector and that have been accessed online 12,000 over the last financial year.

Family Violence Workforce Support

In 20197-202018, the Women’s was funded for 12 months to design and deliver the Family Violence Workplace Support Program. This program has trained over 1,000 managers and practitioners across the state, and supported 88 hospitals to respond to staff impacted by family violence. This program developed specialist human resource and industrial relations practice tools that include the development of policies, procedures and industrial instruments, training for managers and family violence contact officers, sector partnership development, capacity building and secondary-consultation.

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