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PAH trial to combat domestic and family violence

11 May 2018

This Domestic and Family Violence (DFV) Prevention Month, Princess Alexandra Hospital (PAH) and seven other Queensland Hospitals are working together to tackle the growing issue.

Domestic and Family Violence Training Coordinator and Principal Investigator Catherine Walsh said DFV was the number one cause of hospitalisations in Australian girls and women aged 15 to 54 years, but often victims weren’t identified.

“On average more than two patients are identified in PAH’s Emergency Department every day, but we know that this figure underestimates the true number of patients affected,” she said.   

“We’ll be looking at current reporting practices of Emergency Department staff across different hospitals, including the rates of reporting and also any potential barriers that are stopping it from happening.

“The hope is that this research will then be used to help develop new Emergency Department DFV screening practices in Australia.”

Ms Walsh said staff education would be a big part of tackling the issue.

“Currently, DFV screening practices are not used for all patients even though we know that DFV can happen to anyone,” she said.  

 “This trial will be important in understanding how we can better tailor our screening system and support healthcare staff with the training they need to have a safe and supportive conversation in a busy ED environment.”

The trial, which will continue until late in the year, is one part of PAH’s commitment to addressing DFV.

In early 2017, PAH employed a DFV Training Coordinator to train staff on how to recognise signs of DFV and when they should refer patients to the Social Work Department.

Since August 2017, female patients experiencing DFV have had access to free, on-site, family law, domestic violence and child protection legal advice.

For more information about Domestic and Family Violence (DFV) Prevention Month, visit:

Last updated 17 May 2018
Last reviewed 11 May 2018

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