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The Princess Alexandra Hospital (PAH) now has a Health Justice Partnership that provides a free legal advice service for women who experience domestic and family violence.
Announced today as part of the PAH Health Symposium Domestic and Family Violence Forum, a solicitor from the Women’s Legal Service Queensland (WLSQ) would provide free legal advice to patients about family law, domestic violence and child protection.
The new service was funded by the Federal Government as part of the Women’s Safety Package.
PAH Acting Executive Director Dr Michael Cleary said the hospital was an ideal setting for routine enquiry and early intervention in domestic violence.
“Domestic and family violence is one of the most complex and damaging issues affecting our community,” he said.
“Last year PAH committed to better respond to the needs of all patients who had experienced any form of domestic and family violence.
“While we have held a number of events over the last 12 months following on from this commitment, today’s announcement is a great asset to our patients who experience domestic and family violence.
“The WLSQ solicitor will provide an important and appropriate service at PAH.”
The WLSQ solicitor, emergency department clinicians, social workers and staff throughout PAH would work to identify women who need assistance with domestic violence and ensure they receive the referrals they need to get help and to feel safe.
PAH Director of Social Work Sue Cumming said last financial year PAH recorded 818 presentations of domestic violence related to spouse or partner episodes, which were more than two patients every day.
“We know that this figure underestimates the true number of patients affected by domestic and family violence who present at PAH,” she said.
“The experience of domestic and family violence can have serious impacts on a person’s physical, psychological and emotional health at a personal level.
“We are committed to improving our response to the needs of all patients who have experienced any form of domestic and /or family violence and the presence of WLSQ at PAH will help towards this.”