October 12, 2018

Responding to Family Violence

Last night at the 2018 Victorian Public Healthcare Awards, Northern Health won the award for ‘Whole-of-hospital model for responding to family violence’  for the initiative, ‘Partnering with the north: evaluating and building capacities for strong families’.

Northern Health partnered with Kilmore District Hospital to tackle family violence in Melbourne’s northern suburbs, including the local government areas of Hume, Whittlesea and Mitchell, which experience significantly higher rates of family violence than the state’s average.

The project involved supporting staff through a major cross-organisation cultural change process, as well as policies of zero tolerance to family violence, and upskilling of managers to lead change.

A newly recruited multidisciplinary project team supports partnerships between hospitals and specialty agencies to drive the change, with partners including Berry Street, Victoria Police, local councils, mental health, and Aboriginal and legal services.

The project has increased the confidence and skill of staff to enable sensitive enquiry, as well as creating an environment where patients feel safe to disclose family violence, and to ensure that all victim survivors of family violence receive appropriate care and referral.

The results show that new family violence alerts and secondary referrals have grown, as well as staff disclosures and access of family violence leave. This demonstrates the effectiveness of this whole-of-organisation approach to addressing family violence and reducing harm.

Northern Health also gained White Ribbon accreditation in March 2018, and is only the second hospital in the state to achieve this status.

“We are very proud of Ros Payne and the team and delighted with their vision and commitment in responding to family violence,” Northern Health Chief Operating Officer, Jane Poxon said.