The state government has boosted funding to tackle family violence, and central Victorian services will be among those to receive support.
CatholicCare Sandhurst and Anglicare Victoria (St Luke’s) will receive a portion of a $5.65 million funding boost to Child FIRST and Integrated Family Services.
Regional health services in Loddon Mallee and Grampians will benefit from extra funding for the Strengthening Hospital Responses for Family Violence initiative.
Bendigo Health’s experience in recognising and helping victims of family violence will help guide other hospitals.
The second edition of a free toolkit, developed by The Women’s Hospital, Bendigo Health and Our Watch, was launched today.
It features training presentations, policies, procedures and guidelines to help health service staff improve their responses to people experiencing family violence.
The toolkit’s launch coincided with a funding boost for an initiative training staff at Victorian health services to identify the signs of family violence and help patients experiencing harm to seek support.
The state government is increasing funding for the Strengthening Hospital Responses for Family Violence initiative from $250,000 to more than $1.2 million this financial year.
Fourteen health services are involved in the initiative, nine of which are being funded for the first time.
Three will support regional health services in the Loddon Mallee, Grampians and Hume.
“Healthcare workers have a real role to play in responding to family violence. For many people, their doctor is someone they respect and trust,” Minister for Health Jill Hennessy said.
“Doctors and nurses may be the first person someone experiencing harm will speak to – or the first person to see the signs of violence.”
New training modules were also promised as part of the announcement.
Training modules focusing on elder abuse, sexual assault and rural and remove communities will be developed.
“We are working with our healthcare workers to ensure they have right skills to equip them to provide the best care and response to elderly Victorians who are experiencing family violence,” Minister for Housing, Disability and Ageing Martin Foley said.
Separate funding was promised for a fourth module focused on children.
The announcement builds on recommendation 95 of the Royal Commission into Family Violence, which requires a “whole-of-hospital service model” for responding to family violence in public hospitals within three to five years.
Extra funding for Child FIRST and Integrated Family Services
A $5.65 million funding boost to Victorian Child FIRST and Integrated Family Services was also announced today.
Minister for Families and Children Jenny Mikakos said the money would be used to develop further partnerships with family violence services and prioritise responses to Aboriginal children and families.
Funding will be based on demand and allocated to service providers throughout the state.
Child FIRST – Child and Family Information, Referrals and Support Teams – connects vulnerable children, young people and their families to services.
Integrated Family Services aim to improve parent-child relationships by helping with parenting skills and providing counselling and group work.
Child FIRST and Integrated Family Services provided more than 35,000 cases of support to Victorian families in 2015-16.
Family violence was recorded as an issue in 55 per cent of all new referrals in the past year.
The $5.65 million funding boost was in addition to the $48 million for Child FIRST and Integrated Family Services in the state government’s first budget.
It responds to a recommendation by the Royal Commission into Family Violence that more funding be provided to Integrated Family Services to respond to family violence, awaiting the establishment of Support and Safety Hubs.
“Children who are victims of family violence sometimes become perpetrators themselves. We need to intervene to break the cycle of violence, and keep not just this generation of children safe, but future ones too,” Ms Mikakos said.
If you or someone you know is experiencing violence or sexual assault, phone 1800 RESPECT on 1800 737 732.