Everyone has the right to feel safe at home. Many do not. One in three partnered New Zealand women report having experienced physical aor sexual intimate partner violence in their lifetime.(external link)
“I wonder how we can have such shocking statistics in New Zealand and what we can all do more effectively to improve the situation,” asks Kathy Lowe, Nurse Specialist, Family Violence Co-ordinator/ Trainer at Auckland District Health Board (DHB).
Auckland DHB’s Family Violence Team is leading a social media campaign in support of white Ribbon Day on 25 November asking colleagues to stand up and say “no” to domestic violence.
“We do have an important responsibility as health professionals to ensure we are providing excellent care to our patients – to provide them with a possible pathway out of violence they need to help keep themselves and their children safe and free from harm.
“Sometimes we wonder what difference screening makes, but actually asking women about their safety at home does let them know that we are interested in their safety, and that it’s ok to talk about this very personal subject with us. We believe that the hospital can be a safe place to have those important, and sometimes even life changing conversations, especially if someone is not ready to talk to police, or a specialist domestic violence agency like Shine,” says Lowe.
Health professionals from all areas of the organisation have been getting involved by taking a photograph of themselves holding a placard declaring their support for White Ribbon Day and sharing it through their own social media channels and/or through Auckland DHB’s official social media channels and tagging the photos with #whiteribbonday and #ADHB.
The placards include sayings like:
Volunteers will be handing out white ribbons on 25 November on Level 3 and Level 5 at Auckland City Hospital and in the main building at Greenlane Clinical Centre. There will also be a display set up on Level 5 at Auckland City Hospital that day providing more information to staff, patients and visitors.
Auckland DHB’s Family Violence Intervention Team is made up of staff with nursing backgrounds who also help cover the after-hours roster for Te Puaruruhau (Auckland DHB Child Protection Team) and includes an employee from Shine (Safer Homes in NZ Everyday), with a background in counselling and psychology.
The team manages the Violence Intervention Screening Programme (VIP) – a nationally led programme found at DHBs throughout the country. When the Ministry of Health Family Violence Intervention Guidelines were developed in 2002, Auckland DHB was one of the first pilot DHBs to implement the programme in 2005 and it has been running successfully since. The VIP programme at Auckland DHB has been rolled out to all Women’s Health and Children’s Health Services, and the team is currently working on the implementation and roll out into Mental Health Services.
The VIP consists of a Ministry of Health six step intervention process which provides the framework for staff to identify, respond, assess and refer family violence concerns. The team delivers core training to all staff in areas where roll-out has occurred, as well as an advanced training package. In addition, as part of Auckland DHB’s monthly welcome days, all new staff attend a 35-minute workshop about domestic violence.
“This programme is designed to support staff empowerment so they can go home at the end of the day feeling like they really made a difference. Our aim is to provide them with the tools to make this difference for some of our most vulnerable patients,” says Lowe.
Photo caption: Members of our Auckland DHB Family Violence Team saying “no” to domestic violence on White Ribbon day.
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