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Domestic and family violence (DFV) resources to support the health workforce

Queensland Health's DFV Toolkit of resources for health workers

The health system is often a first point of contact for people who have experienced DFV.

Queensland Health's DFV Toolkit of resources for health workers was developed in 2016 to help health workers to use sensitive inquiry to safely and appropriately recognise, respond, and refer to suspicions and disclosures of domestic and family violence. If you scroll through this page you will find online and face-to-face training modules, guidelines, factsheets and clinical tools for a range of health workers, including first responders and those working in hospitals and health services.

The toolkit was revised in 2019 to include updated statistics, references and information about government priorities and emerging themes in contemporary human services practice. Updates include further information about:

  • COVID-19 and DFV (see factsheet and safety planning checklist)
  • coercive control and reproductive coercion as types of DFV
  • the impact of systemic issues on the risk and incidence of DFV
  • the use of trauma-sensitive care
  • using a 'human rights lens' to respond to issues of diversity.

COVID-19 and DFV

For people experiencing DFV, being at home is not always a safe place. We know that the incidence of DFV has increased during the COVID-19 pandemic period. Measures introduced to reduce the spread of COVID-19 such as changes to access to support services, social restrictions, home schooling and self-isolation and quarantine requirements, as well as the stress caused by the economic impacts such as unemployment, have increased the risk of DFV.

Health services may become the most accessible support services for people experiencing DFV during the COVID-19 pandemic. When treating and/or discharging patients, it is imperative that health professionals assess patient's safety at home and provide safe, appropriate and timely responses to presentations of DFV. Safety planning now needs to take into account the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Read the DFV COVID-19 Factsheet (PDF 289 kB) for guidance on how to recognise, respond, and refer safely and appropriately to suspicions and disclosures of DFV within the context of COVID-19. The Factsheet includes a Safety Planning Checklist which considers the complexity of safety planning within the context of potential impacts and restrictions resulting from COVID-19.

DFV services will be accessible throughout the pandemic period. For information about availability and any changes to the mode of service delivery read Operation of domestic and family violence services during the pandemic period (PDF 270 kB).

Training resources to support clinicians

Strengthening the health system response to violence against women

One in three women throughout the world will experience physical and/or sexual violence by a partner or sexual violence by a non-partner. This violence has a wide range of short- and long-term health consequences. The health system is a place where women who have experienced violence can go in order to receive services and support for their physical and mental health needs.

Video transcript

The Queensland Ambulance Service (QAS) and the Queensland Police Service (QPS) are often the frontline first responders to incidents of domestic and family violence. In recognition of this QAS and QPS collaborated in the development of the training video below to be used to raise health worker awareness of the challenges faced by first responders.


Video transcript

Training

Read the Health workforce domestic and family violence training guideline (PDF 308kB)

Domestic and Family Violence train-the-trainer sessions have been facilitated in HHSs and private health services throughout Queensland.  Health workers and professionals in both the private and public sectors can request to participate in DFV training for the health workforce be delivered by skilled, local trainers. If you would like to find out your local DFV training contact, please email StrategicPolicy@health.qld.gov.au.

Understanding Domestic and Family Violence

The Understanding Domestic and Family Violence training module aims to raise awareness of domestic and family violence among all health workers, and provides guidance on how to respond to a disclosure of domestic and family violence.

It provides information for all health workers, both clinical and non-clinical, in public and private health facilities.

The information is also available in other formats:

Clinical response to Domestic and Family Violence

The Clinical response to Domestic and Family Violence training module aims to support clinicians working in a range of clinical areas (e.g. maternity services, emergency department and mental health) to identify domestic and family violence through a sensitive inquiry model and to respond appropriately.

Train the trainer

These train the trainer resources are targeted towards clinical leads in domestic and family violence from a range of clinical areas.

  • Facilitators guide (revised) (PDF 9.33MB) designed to help trainers in your organisation provide face to face training sessions.
  • Training presentation (revised) (PPT 4.38MB) to support the delivery of the face to face training sessions.

Referral model

A Referral model (revised) (PDF 1.93MB) and flowchart (revised) (PDF 137kB) have been developed to guide clinicians through the process of referring a client to specialist services, in cases where this becomes necessary.

Please also refer to the Domestic and family violence online portal to support Queenslanders experiencing or impacted by domestic and family violence.

The portal facilitates easy access to information and support services from across Queensland Government agencies and selected funded services and caters for people with a range of needs and individual circumstances including women with children, people from Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander and CALD backgrounds, from rural and regional communities and people in LGBTIQ relationships.

It is a useful resource for friends, family and bystanders who are looking for information on how to support a loved one, friend or colleague. The portal can also be accessed by health workers and clinicians across the state who are looking for local referral options for clients.

Information sharing guidelines

The Domestic and Family Violence Information Sharing Guidelines support the implementation of new information sharing provisions under the Domestic and Family Violence Protection Act 2012. The guidelines support practitioners to share information appropriately with each other in order to appropriately assess and manage domestic and family violence risk, and in a manner consistent with legislative amendments.

A quick-reference DFV Information Sharing Factsheet (PDF 82kB) and Flowchart (PDF 97kB) are also available for use by the health workforce working in busy and complex clinical environments.

Non-lethal strangulation in DFV

Non-lethal strangulation in DFV became a stand-alone criminal offence in Queensland in April 2016. The intent of a stand-alone strangulation offence is primarily to improve justice responses and to increase women’s safety.

A Non-lethal Strangulation in DFV Factsheet (PDF 170kB) and Flowchart (revised) (PDF 235kB) have been developed to provide the health workforce with easy-to-access, evidence-based information for use in busy clinical environments.

Antenatal screening for DFV

The Antenatal screening for domestic and family violence guideline (PDF 303kB) has been developed for Queensland Health professionals involved in providing care to women during the antenatal period. Pregnancy can trigger or intensify the occurrence of domestic and family violence and this guideline supports health professionals to identify and respond to the particular needs of pregnant women at risk or experiencing domestic and family violence. Specific antenatal screening training scenarios (PDF 192kB) and a training video can be used to enhance understanding and implementation of the guideline.

Background

The Taskforce on Domestic and Family Violence in Queensland was established to examine Queensland's domestic and family violence support systems and make recommendations to the Premier on how the system could be improved and future incidents of domestic violence could be prevented. The Not Now Not Ever: Putting an end to Domestic and Family Violence in Queensland report was presented to the Premier in February 2015.

Australia’s National Research Organisation for Women’s Safety (ANROWS) is a Commonwealth-funded not-for-profit company established to deliver relevant and translatable research evidence which drives policy and practice leading to a reduction in the levels of violence against women and their children.

Last updated: 17 September 2020

OurWatch - Lets change the story: Violence Against Women in Australia

Australia has a choice. We can change the story that currently sees a woman murdered every week by a current or former partner. We can choose a future where women and their children live free from violence. Learn more

Find local support

There are specialist domestic and family violence support services available in your local area.

People impacted by domestic and family violence may require financial support and can acces brokerage and emergency crisis payments.