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​Strengthening Hospital Responses to Family Violence

Hospitals play an important role in the health and safety of our community.
The hospital system is an early contact point for many people who have experienced family violence, presenting an opportunity for earlier identification, and improved responses and referral of victims. 

Why work with hospitals?

When hospital staff are well equipped to identify the signs of family violence or sexual assault, this can open up pathways to support for victims. 

Those experiencing such violence receive a sensitive response, and are offered options for further support from services, police or other sources.

This in turn can increase accountability of perpetrators, and sends a message across the community that violence is not OK.

There are more than 1,300 hospitals in Australia, treating millions of people every year. Hospitals are also major employers, with more than 274,000 people working in Australian public hospitals alone. Promoting gender equality and respect in workplaces has been proven to be an important catalyst for preventing violence against women in broader society.

Strengthening Hospital Responses to Family Violence (Victoria) – a pilot project 

In 2014 and 2015 Our Watch worked on a pilot project to build the capacity of hospitals to respond to and prevent violence against women and their children. Further work in this area is now being led by The Royal Women’s Hospital and Bendigo Health.

Our Watch partnered with the Royal Women’s Hospital and Bendigo Health on a project to support hospital staff to respond sensitively and appropriately when they treat women and children who have experienced family violence. This project was funded by the Victorian Government, and aimed to ensure a more effective response to victims of family violence through increased identification and referral of cases. 

As part of this project, the Royal Women’s Hospital and Bendigo Health considered ways to strengthen their relationships with the integrated family violence system. This included working closely with local community services that support women and children experiencing family violence. 

The project aligned with the evidence and approach of the Family Violence Risk Assessment and Risk Management Framework, known as the Common Risk Assessment Framework.

You can read more about this project here.

Download the evaluation report