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Video transcript: First Responders - Putting an end to Domestic and Family Violence

First Responders

Putting an end to Domestic and Family Violence

(man and woman fighting, man hitting woman with beer bottle, man leaving the house)

The Queensland Ambulance Service, the QAS, and the Queensland Police Service, QPS, are often the frontline first responders to incidents of domestic and family violence in Queensland. In certain cases the QAS attends cases without QPS involvement and vice versa. In many cases the victims of domestic and family violence (DFV) refuse treatment and transport to medical care and remain under the radar of the health system.

(woman walks out of house with blood on her head)

A special government taskforce reported an increase of domestic and family violence in Queensland and made recommendations for the QPS and QAS.

(woman remains standing in front of the house, lights a cigarette and mops head with towel)

Both services will be expected to provide further domestic violence information to the victim with the objective of protecting the victim and ensuring that all presentations to either service is an effective portal to decisive and appropriate action.  

(a small child exits the house behind the woman who is still standing at the front of the house, and stands looking at his mother)

The presence of children add to the sensitivity of these cases. Witnessing domestic violence may affect the way in which they behave in their relationships, continuing the cycle of violence. The highly sensitive nature of these cases presents a difficult challenge for emergency service staff.  

(camera pans to view woman from above, child not visible)

Either the QPS or the QAS may be called depending on the situation.

(camera pans back and ambulance van pulls up outside of the house, two paramedics exit the van and walk across the yard to the woman)

If the QAS is the initial responding service, a paramedic’s primary responsibility is their own personal safety, and the immediate medical assessment and treatment of the victim, with transport to hospital as required.

(paramedics are in the lounge room treating the woman’s wounds, and then support her into the back of the ambulance van outside)

If a risk assessment returns a high likelihood of immediate danger for any involved parties, including QAS staff, immediate QPS involvement is required.  

(paramedic is shown talking into a two-way radio on his collar, then shows female paramedic talking to the woman, then both paramedics talking with the woman)

When speaking to the victim be empathetic and listen carefully. Consider the education and training that you have received and strive to provide the best outcome for the victim. The QPS and QAS may refer the victim to DVConnect. We will cover DVConnect in more detail later in this video.  Prior to providing any suggestions to the victim confirm that they are seeking further domestic violence information and assistance. Ensure the victim is aware that paramedics are not authorised to provide legal advice or directly advocate on the patients behalf.  

(woman puts her hand up and turns away from the paramedics and shakes her head multiple times)

Patients in these cases may refuse service. Paramedics should refer to the QAS regulations in regards to patient consent in the clinical environment. Across all emergency services the primary goal is provide the best outcome for the victim while still respecting their right to choose.

(police car pulls up outside of the house)

When the QPS are called for back-up, they will arrive and start their investigation processes with medical assistance as a priority.  

(woman shown speaking with the police officer, still outside the house)

The investigative process starts by separating the involved parties to get a version of events.

(police speaking with man in from of the car garage)

The QPS will act accordingly to severity. In these cases, both QAS or QPS are expected to provide further domestic violence related information to the victim.

(women speaking with paramedics outside of front door)

In most cases however the QPS will be the initial responding service.

(women standing alone outside of front door with police officers walking toward her, then a shot of a police officer speaking into the two-way radio in the police vehicle)

In these circumstances if medical assistance is required on scene the QAS will be called. The QPS will conduct an investigation by separating the parties and gaining a version of events. The QPS will act according to their findings.

(police talking to woman, then talking separately to the man)

If the perpetrator of domestic and family violence is under the influence of alcohol or is still threatening the victim or staff, the QPS may detain him or her for up to 8 hours in total.

(man is escorted to the back of the police vehicle)

If domestic violence has occurred, the QPS can detain the perpetrator for up to 4 hours for the purpose of making an application for a domestic violence order.

(Female paramedic talking on the phone in front of the ambulance van)

Both the QPS and QAS, with the victim’s approval may make a referral to DVConnect, Crisis Support Queensland, or recommend other self-sought domestic violence services.

(police speaking with injured woman outside the house)

Emergency services have a special DVConnect dedicated emergency services number.  Once referred DVConnect will contact the victim, to provide assistance.

(image of orange cab, and then injured woman and child getting into the cab)

DVConnect can organise refuge accommodation and transport for the victim along with ongoing assistance tailored to their specific situation, wants and needs.  

(Injured woman speaking to paramedics outside of house)

If the victim doesn’t wish for a DVConnect referral, alternative solutions to domestic violence can also be suggested at the QPS or QAS staff member’s discretion.  

(Injured woman smoking a cigarette, as child comes out of the front door, and mother hugs and kisses child before he returns back inside)

Domestic and family violence affects women, men, children and families from all sections of society. It requires collective efforts to break the cycle of violence within our communities. It is imperative that responses to domestic and family violence be wide ranging, strategic and integrated so that no one, victim or perpetrator, falls through the gaps.

(woman who acted as the victim in the filmed scenario, is sitting in a chair facing directly to the camera, on occasion the camera focuses on severe scars on the woman’s arm )

Hi. My name is Rachel Moore and in 2014 I was a victim of family and domestic violence, along with my 5 children who were also present when my children’s father shot me. I am lucky to be alive. I would like to thank the Queensland Police and the Ambulance Service, along with my 5 brave children, who saved my life that night. I am eternally grateful and have nothing but admiration for the Queensland Police and Ambulance Service Officers and the job that they do. As a victim of domestic and family violence I would like to ask that all police officers and paramedics take each and every case of domestic and family violence seriously, to take action in protecting victims and their families, and to take the necessary action against perpetrators. Victims of domestic and family violence depend heavily on you, our police and ambulance officers, to get the best outcome for victims and their families.

Last updated: 30 May 2017