Emergency departments of NSW hospitals to screen for domestic violence

A $1.8 million pilot program is being launched at six NSW hospital emergency departments to screen for patients who may be victims of domestic violence.

Attorney General and Minister for the Prevention of Domestic Violence Mark Speakman.

NSW Attorney-General Mark Speakman Source: AAP

A ground-breaking program to be run at six NSW hospitals will aim to identify victims of domestic violence and offer them support services.

The $1.8 million pilot program will screen for domestic violence in the emergency departments of the hospitals.

NSW Minister for the Prevention of Domestic Violence Mark Speakman said the program would offer the widest scale of domestic violence screening of its kind in Australian emergency departments.

"This program will help identify domestic violence so that crucial steps can be taken to protect victim-survivors from harm," Mr Speakman said on Thursday.

The program has been launched during 16 Days of Activism to help eradicate gender-based violence.

One-in-four women have experienced physical and/or sexual violence by an intimate partner and on average one woman is killed in Australia every nine days by a current or former partner.

Domestic violence is more prevalent among emergency department users than in most other healthcare and community settings, as it's a 24-hour service with relative anonymity.

Health Minister Brad Hazzard said women who experienced domestic violence could be assured of the best possible care and discretion in emergency departments.

"Depending on her individual needs, she may also be provided with further support from NSW Health, or be referred to other support services that can help provide protection and break the cycle of violence," Mr Hazzard said.

The pilot program will run for 12 months in the six public hospital emergency departments with a view to eventually expanding it statewide.

Published 26 November 2020 at 7:45am, updated 26 November 2020 at 7:56am
Source: AAP - SBS