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For students and future employees

Social Work future studentsThe social work profession is committed to maximising the wellbeing of individuals, families, groups, communities and society.

Our structure is typical of many public health Social Work Services. Our Head of Social Work, Dr Meghan O’Brien, leads a team of 35 Social Workers. Within our staff cohort, we have a senior Social Worker based at each of our sites, as well as a number of senor staff working within key projects that are currently being lead by the Peninsula Health Social Work Department. These include: Strengthening Hospitals Response to Family Violence, An Integrated Model of Responding to Elder Abuse and a Mental Health Project which is addressing the service reform in Victoria following the Royal Commission into Family Violence. We have also have collaboration with Peninsula Community Legal Centre and are currently leading a project supporting the roll out of the NDIS in our local catchment.

As outlined by the AASW Scope of Social Work Practice: Hospital Social Work (2016), Social Workers in health settings undertake the following activities:

  • Comprehensive psychosocial assessments
  • Intervention and rigorous discharge plans, in consultation with the patient, their family, carers and significant others.
  • Risk assessments
  • Counselling and advocacy support
  • Crisis intervention
  • The provision of specialist clinical expertise, in assessing the psychosocial needs of individuals in a number of health settings.

Our Social Workers work in collaboration with multidisciplinary teams, to provide a comprehensive and high quality service to our patients.

Current exciting initiatives:

Integrated Model of Care for Responding to Suspected Elder Abuse

Elder Abuse can include one or more of the following: Physical Abuse, Psychological Abuse (including verbal abuse, coercion), Financial Abuse, Sexual Abuse, Social Abuse and Neglect.

In response to the findings from the Royal Commission into Family Violence (RCFV), the Victorian Government is implementing an integrated model of care for responding to suspected elder abuse; based within a health care setting. This project has been implemented across five trial health services, for a twelve month period. As the Mornington Peninsula region has the second highest population of people over the age of 60 in Victoria, we are excited that Peninsula Health has been selected as a trial site.

Sue Leake is a Social Worker, who is currently employed in the Elder Abuse Prevention and Response Liaison Officer role. Sue’s role includes the provision of specialist clinical advice and consultancy, regarding complex intervention and discharge decisions for older people at risk of or experiencing elder abuse. Sue is also available to provide secondary consultation to external services across our catchment area, in relation to advice and referrals for elder abuse cases. This project is inclusive of a family consultant from Better Place Australia, who is able to provide counselling, advocacy and support to an older person, and has access to mediation and financial counselling.

Another key component of this initiative is workforce development and capacity building. Many of our staff are being provided with training. This training is being provided by The Bouverie Centre in partnership with St Vincent’s Hospital Melbourne and Seniors Rights Vic, and is funded by the Department of Health and Human Services’ Integrated Model of Care (IMOC) for responding to suspected elder abuse.


Strengthening Hospital Responses to Family Violence at Peninsula Health

The Strengthening Hospital Responses to Family Violence (SHRFV) initiative is part of the government’s response to the Royal Commission into Family Violence, and relates to Recommendation 95, which requires a ‘whole-of-hospital’ model for responding to family violence in public hospitals within three to five years.

Family violence is a health issue. On average, at least one woman is murdered by a current or former partner every week in Australia. We also know that patients and health staff can be affected by family violence.

Health services are in a unique and powerful position to better identify and respond to family violence across the lifespan. Peninsula Health is committed to a future free from family violence, where our communities can live without fear. The SHRFV Project aims to build our health network’s capacity to sensitively respond to and improve outcomes for patients and staff who have experienced family violence.

Peninsula Health is currently implementing a whole-of-hospital approach for embedding the practice of identifying and responding to family violence experienced by patients and staff members.

For further information on the SHRFV Project at Peninsula Health, or for any enquiries, please contact the Social Work department on 9784 7073.


National Disability Insurance Scheme

The National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) is a national approach to providing demand driven individualised services and activities for people with a disability as well as their families and carers. The NDIS has been established through the National Disability Insurance Act 2013 and aims to improve participation in social and economic life for people with a disability. The NDIS was rolled out to Peninsula Health in the Bayside Peninsula Region in April 2018.

Social work plays an integral role in supporting patients and their carers through the NDIS pathway and are championing the NDIS transition at Peninsula Health. Michelle Bult (Senior Social Work Clinician) has been leading this work in a NDIS project worker role capacity, integrating policy to practice and supporting Allied Health, Nursing and Medical staff across acute and sub-acute services. The main aims of the NDIS project include:

Building an effective and streamlined operational interface between Peninsula Health inpatient services and the NDIS

Building the capability of PH inpatient staff to support patients and carers throughout the NDIS operational pathway

Working to overcome the key challenges facing Peninsula Health inpatient services in regards to the NDIS



The Social Work Department provides opportunities for clinical placements for social work students. We have formal arrangements with Monash University, RMIT University and Deakin University. Student placements are to be arranged through University Fieldwork Departments. Our Student Unit provides an average of 14 placements per year. Our placement duration for both first and second placements is 500 hours.

Our placements are offered across our acute and sub-acute settings. As public transport can be difficult to access on the Mornington Peninsula, it is preferable that all students undertaking a placement with us will have access to their own vehicle.