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AUSTRALIAN MEDICAL ASSOCIATION (WA)
A new toolkit designed to help general practitioners identify the signs of domestic violence has been welcomed by Australian Medical Association (WA) President Dr Michael Gannon.
“Today is the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women, and it is important to discuss what is a serious issue in Australia,” Dr Gannon said.
“We know that women who suffer from domestic violence tend to visit GPs and hospitals more often, and it is vital that a resource is available so more cases are identified and the necessary support is provided.
“Full time GPs can see up to five women per week who have suffered from some form of domestic abuse.
“The fact that one woman in Australia dies at the hands of a current or former partner every week is absolutely reprehensible, and more needs to be done to address this problem.
“At odds with the perceptions of many, the incidence of Domestic Violence does not vary with social class.
“Domestic violence does not discriminate according to income, race or religion.
“Of great concern, many women experience physical violence for the first time when they are pregnant. Pregnancy is a time of greatly increased risk to women, with the potential of injury to their unborn baby.
“It’s an important and complex part of general practice, so we applaud the Women’s Law Centre of WA for providing what will be a vital tool in picking up the tell-tale signs of abuse,” Dr Gannon said.
The Toolkit, originally developed by the Women’s Legal Services NSW and adapted by the Women’s Law Centre of WA, provides practical advice for GPs on issues including:
• note-taking for legal purposes
• mandatory reporting
• immigration and family violence provisions
• summons and subpoenas
• ethical issues such as continuing care for the patient, when the patient is the perpetrator, and when both partners are patients.
To view the toolkit, please click here.