Building readiness to deal with family violence

Morgan Liotta

18/06/2020 1:21:37 PM

New funding and an innovative research model will help reinforce GPs’ key role in identifying and responding to issues of abuse and violence.

Worried woman
Increased episodes of family violence have been attributed to the stress of the coronavirus pandemic.

‘It’s a really important issue in our society and, although GPs can’t solve it all, it’s important that we do our part well.’
That is Dr Elizabeth Hindmarsh, GP and Chair of the RACGP Specific Interests Abuse and Violence network, who previously discussed with newsGP the role GPs have in providing support for patients experiencing family violence.
With increased episodes of family violence attributed to stress of the coronavirus pandemic, the Federal Government has announced a further $300,000 boost to its Fourth Action Plan 2019–22 as part of the National Plan to Prevent Violence against Women and their Children.
The funding initiative will support an update of the RACGP’s Abuse and violence: Working with our patients in general practice (the White Book) with the latest evidence and best practice advice to assist GPs to better recognise and respond to family violence.
The White Book acknowledges the central role GPs and other primary care providers play for survivors.
RACGP President Dr Harry Nespolon has praised news of funding for the White Book.

To further highlight the importance of this role, the University of Melbourne’s Safer Families Centre has developed a world-first comprehensive framework that identifies healthcare professionals’ readiness to address family violence.
The model identified five key themes that healthcare professionals felt they needed for readiness to provide sensitive care for survivors of family violence:
  • Commitment
  • Advocacy
  • Trust
  • Collaboration
  • Health system support
These are collectively referred to as CATCH.
Findings were published in PLOS ONE journal.
The CATCH model will be integrated with the update of the White Book, and is designed to improve training and systems for all healthcare professionals to ensure they are better equipped with the skills and confidence to support patients.
‘Safer Families Centre at the University of Melbourne is pleased to be working with RACGP on the update of the White Book,’ lead researcher and White Book clinical editor Professor Kelsey Hegarty told newsGP.
‘The CATCH model is for all health professionals to enable them to be ready to address family violence … and provides the curriculum for training GPs and primary care nurses in this sensitive area.
‘The GP’s role is pivotal, as they are often the first professional told about family violence and can provide a first-line response.’
Professor Hegarty said the development of the model is timely given the spike in reported family violence incidents during the coronavirus pandemic.
‘We hope that this will change the way we prepare practitioners for this important role, in Australia and globally,’ she said in a statement.
‘The CATCH model could also prove timely during and following the COVID-19 crisis, as survivors may only be able to see health practitioners during movement restrictions.’
Four universities that are part of the Safer Families Centre were involved in the CATCH study: University of Melbourne, Auckland University of Technology, University of Bristol and La Trobe University.
The study examined existing knowledge gaps in how best to support and train healthcare professionals to enable an ‘evidence-based pathway to safety’ through the health system for those experiencing family violence.
The researchers found that a ‘ready’ healthcare professional would be motivated to make a difference, know how to advocate, feel they were likely to succeed and receive encouraging feedback and ongoing training.
‘Now, more than ever, we need to ensure that health professionals are well-equipped to deal with family violence,’ Professor Hegarty said.
‘This could improve survivors’ experience within the health system and their overall outcomes.’
The White Book is developed for GPs by GPs, and contains evidence-based information, tools and resources for dealing with family violence and abuse in general practice. It is available on the RACGP website.
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Dr Sofia Zarina Yasmin Yusuff   29/06/2020 3:49:49 PM

Unable to get cpd points for emerging minds