Strengthening Hospitals Response to Family Violence

As part of the Ballarat Health Cluster, East Grampians Health Service is participating in a new project evaluating the state-wide program, Strengthening Hospitals Response to Family Violence.

The project is being led by the Royal Women’s Hospital and the University of Melbourne and will look at how hospitals support and respond when a patient or staff member discloses an experience of family violence.

The two-year project aims to find out what responses and supports work, in what contexts and when, to improve the hospital system so both patients and staff who disclose have a pathway to safety and well-being.

The health services participating in the project are:

These are among 88 hospitals and health services that are part of the Strengthening Hospital Responses to Family Violence (SHRFV) program. The robust evidence base that results from this project will help expand impact and application of the SHRFV program in Victoria and potentially beyond.

Professor Kelsey Hegarty is Joint Chair in Family Violence Prevention at the University of Melbourne and the Royal Women’s Hospital, and will lead the project.

“The health sector is a critical entry point for identifying and responding to people affected by family violence, providing care and offering appropriate pathways to support and assistance,” Professor Hegarty said.

“This project is a great opportunity for us to look at data related to early identification, response, and referral of patients who experience family violence. And to investigate hospital systems and support structures for staff to carry out this sensitive work and for those who are also victim/survivors.

“This research will influence and create lasting social change in relation to how hospitals can best support patients and their children who experience family violence.”

The project is generously funded by a $500,000 grant from The Collier Charitable Fund.

The hospital’s Chief Executive, Sue Matthews, welcomed the Fund’s generous grant.

“We are absolutely thrilled to receive this grant from The Collier Charitable Fund in support of this important project,” said Sue Matthews.

“It is visionary philanthropic support like this that can transform our community.”

This special grant was made by Collier to honour the significant contribution of the three Collier sisters, Edith, Alice and Annette, who established the Collier Charitable Fund upon their deaths in the 1950s.