GPs welcome Turnbull domestic violence strategy

sad woman in shadows

The Royal Australian College of General Practitioners welcomes the Federal Government’s announcement of a funding boost for GP training to identify and respond to cases of domestic violence.

The ‘Women’s Safety Package to Stop the Violence’, announced by Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull this morning, will see the RACGP work with the government to develop and deliver specialised training to GPs across Australia.

RACGP President Dr Frank R Jones says he commends the government for taking an important step in addressing domestic and family violence in Australia.

“The impacts of family and domestic violence are pervasive, severe and serious. General practitioners are in an optimal situation for early intervention as they see the whole family,” Dr Jones says.

“GPs are often the first point of contact for victims of domestic violence, therefore it is vital they understand the nature of violence and abuse and how it could manifest so they can help break what is often an intergenerational cycle.

“This includes identifying predisposing risk factors, understanding early signs and symptoms and managing the devastating consequences of family violence.”

The RACGP sets and provides a Curriculum for Australian General Practice that reflects the fundamental skills and attributes for addressing family violence.

The Abuse and violence: working with our patients in general practice (White book) is an extensive resource for general practitioners providing evidence-based guidance on appropriate identification and response in clinical practice to patients experiencing abuse and violence.

The latest edition offers new insight into Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people as well as migrant, refugee and rural communities.

The RACGP has proposed the introduction of Medicare patient rebates to support a national approach to healthcare delivery for women and children experiencing family violence.

These rebates would enable GPs to develop a “Family Health Safety Plan” providing a framework and support for GPs to implement an action plan with their patient, which could include referrals to mother and child and group services.

The RACGP is also currently working with stakeholders to develop adjunct resources, particularly a decision-making pathway for working with perpetrators – an area recognised as needing more attention across the sector.

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