GPs ignored in draft plan to end domestic violence

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The RACGP criticized this omission, pointing out that survivor-victims seek help from GPs more than any other professional group.

Evidence shows that GPs are often the first person a victim-survivor will disclose abuse to.


Many families will not be reached for early intervention unless the national plan to end violence against women and children focuses on GPs, the RACGP has warned.


The warning was in a college submission to the draft National Plan to End Violence Against Women and Children 2022-2032, which pursues a ‘towards zero’ approach to family violence focused on prevention, intervention early, response and recovery.


However, while early intervention is listed as one of the plan’s four key pillars, GPs are only mentioned in passing alongside other frontline services including the police, justice system and educators.


Given that victim-survivors disclose to GPs more than any other professional group – including the police – RACGP President Dr Karen Price says GP must be included in the plan.


“As one of the only practitioners to provide continuous holistic care to a patient throughout their life, GPs are uniquely placed to help people who are victims of abuse and violence,” she said. declared.


“Evidence shows that GPs are often the first person a victim-survivor will disclose to…because people know and trust their GP.


“It’s also because GPs are trained to notice when something is wrong, so we can recognize the signs and strike up a conversation with a patient, which is often the first step.


“As such, there should be a key focus on GPs in the national plan to end violence against women and children.


“Without this, many families will not be reached at the early intervention stage.”


GPs already have access to evidence-based guidelines to support the care of patients who are victims of family and domestic violence and abuse, called the White Paper. The college is also working with the Safer Families Center to roll out training for general practitioners nationwide.


However, the college’s submission says the investment to date is “less than what is needed” to properly develop GPs in this area.


Dr. Price says supporting existing initiatives with increased support for general practice and expanded access to reimbursements for Medicare patients would improve access to early intervention and care.


“With respect to victim-survivor support, GPs provide comprehensive care, including management of physical and mental health consequences, as well as referral of patients to relevant support services,” a- she declared.


“GPs also see members of the same family – we are often the only medical professional to see both the victim-survivor, the perpetrator and their children. Thus, GPs also play an important ongoing role in assessing and managing violence and safety within families.


“Increased support for general practice, through continuing education and peer support groups, will greatly assist GPs in identifying and working safely with victim-survivors, children and perpetrators as well as with other domestic violence services.


‘The [Federal] The government must also expand access to reimbursements for Medicare patients, so that care is more accessible for those who need it.


The RACGP president also said that existing barriers to care could easily be removed if the criteria for GP management plans (PGMPs) were broadened to include people experiencing domestic violence.


“Surviving victims and their families would also benefit from access to Medicare patient reimbursements for longer consultations, so they can take the time needed to have a conversation with their GP and discuss their concerns,” said said Dr. Price.


“These simple changes will mean more people can access the care and support they need when they need it – it will make a big difference for individuals and families.”



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