Hospitals call out family violence

STAFF at Sale Hospital joined hospitals around the region on Monday in a symbolic gesture to remember women in Australia who have lost their lives as a result of family violence.

As part of the international ’16 Days of Activism’ campaign to challenge violence against women and girls, all hospitals around Gippsland played a two-minute audio titled Remember My Name to pay tribute to the dozens of women in Australia who by mid November had died at the hands of a partner or former partner.

Its powerful message brought staff to a standstill, as the dead women’s names sent a stark reminder to the 3605 staff across four Gippsland hospitals of the wider responsibility in stopping family violence.

There were display tables, free water bottles for people coming into the hospital, and staff wore white T-shirts with the slogan ‘Call it out. Respect Women’.

One of the organisers, Kristen Millar, said the 16 days of events aimed to provide awareness and reminders to Central Gippsland Health staff of the role they played in recognising family violence and helping women “call it out”.

More than 35,000 staff across four Gippsland hospitals, including 812 in Sale, 152 in Yarram, 2115 at Latrobe Regional Hospital and 526 at West Gippsland Hospital, are being trained to identify and respond to disclosures of family violence.

Community liaison project officer Michelle Dabkowski said awareness and training in health environments was an essential step in increasing disclosures and reducing deaths.

“Three women present to hospitals in Australia each week with traumatic brain injuries as a result of family violence,” she said.

“One woman is killed in Australia every five days – we know that health workers have a role to play in making the reporting and disclosing systems easier, and helping women get the help they need.”

Ms Dabkowski said hospital staff were not immune to being victims themselves, with statistics showing that one in four staff members had experienced family violence.

CGH acting chief executive Paul Head said CGH would like to continue the focus on family violence prevention and disclosure.

He said the hospital would continue to educate staff and support all women affected by family violence coming through the hospital system.