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Healthcare, family violence agencies need better links

Researchers, educators and health and social service providers gathered in Melbourne recently to explore a systematic response to family violence across the healthcare system.

The Nursing Network on Violence Against Women International (NNVAWI) partnered with La Trobe University to present the 21st NNVAWI Conference.

Lead organiser professor Angela Taft from the Judith Lumley Centre at La Trobe University said health workers are often the first professionals to be made aware of violence and abuse within families.

Taft said: “They’re able to recognise tell-tale signs and at times they’re the ones vulnerable victims choose to confide in.

“As a family violence researcher, I hear too often of stories from doctors, nurses and midwives who feel overwhelmed by the level of responsibility to tackle these tough issues. Without the correct training and a health system to support them, so many opportunities to intervene can slip by.”

Taft argued that what is missing is the critical link between healthcare workers and the services that can help those experiencing domestic violence. “A nurse, for example, wanting to support a young mother experiencing abuse, needs to know who and how to refer them on, for specialist help,” she said.

Nursing Review sat down with Taft to further discuss this issue and the potential solutions that were hashed out during the conference.

Click here to learn more about the conference and here to learn more about NNVAWI.

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