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Peninsula Health launches new family violence strategy

Pictured left to right:Jenny Chapman, Project Manager, Strengthening Hospital Responses to Family Violence, Royal Women’s Hospital; Safe Steps advocate Suchitra, who also shared her story at the launch; Louisa Whitwam, Project Lead, Strengthening Hospital Responses to Family Violence, Peninsula Health; Rosie Batty; Felicity Topp, Chief Executive, Peninsula Health, Lyn Jamieson, Chief Operating Officer, Peninsula Health.  

Former Australian of the Year and family violence campaigner Rosie Batty has applauded Peninsula Health for its new strategy to tackle family violence.

“For some families this change can’t come soon enough,” said Ms Batty, when addressing almost 100 Peninsula Health doctors, nurses, allied health staff and managers at the launch of the strategy last week.

“I know the work you are doing will make a significant difference and I’m pleased that all of the people who come through the doors to this health service will be treated with a great deal of knowledge, not just compassion.”

Peninsula Health is the second health service in the state, behind the Royal Women’s Hospital, who ran the initial pilot program with Bendigo Health, to create and roll-out an evidence-based strategy as part of the Strengthening Hospital Responses to Family Violence (SHRFV) project. Funded by the Victorian government, the SHRFV project is a result of recommendations from the 2016 Royal Commission into Family Violence.

“Peninsula Health is powerfully positioned to develop an integrated approach to family violence across the life span,” said Peninsula Health Chief Executive, Felicity Topp.

“We provide a diverse range of health services across the entire care continuum – from birth to end-of-life care and everything in between.”

“We recognise that family violence is a health issue which does not discriminate across social and cultural groups.”

In Australia, one in three people is affected by family violence. These rates are even higher in the Frankston, Mornington Peninsula region.

“Family violence is a dirty little secret that happens behind closed doors,” said Ms Batty.

“There are many forms of family violence that don’t leave bruises. How do we know what to look for when it comes to elder abuse or abuse against people with a disability?”

Ms Topp acknowledged that while women and children are most commonly affected by family violence, people of all ages, including older people are also affected.

The Peninsula Health strategy outlines how the health service will embed a sustainable, whole-of-network model for responding to family violence across the lifespan over the next three years.

“We will deliver staff training and education to enhance our Health Service’s capability, capacity and confidence in sensitively enquiring about family violence,” said Ms Topp.

“Whether it’s a nurse in the Emergency Department or an Occupational Therapist at our Aged Care facility who encounter a potential victim of family violence – staff will have the training they need to recognise the signs and get these people the help they need.”

“Together, we are creating a community free from family violence.”

Read the full strategy online.

If you or someone you know is affected by family violence and your life is in danger, please call 000.

Other 24/7 support services:

Safe Steps: 1800 015 188

National Sexual Assault, domestic and family violence counselling service: 1800 737 732


Family violence is a health issue

  • It’s World Health Day on 8 April, which recognises the importance of people all over the world having access to healthcare.
  • When people affected by family violence access our health service – whether it’s in the emergency department, outpatient clinic or rehabilitation, our staff will be trained to recognise the signs and respond appropriately.