Rebecca Fawcett with minister Gabrielle Williams.

At least one woman is murdered at the hands of a current or former partner every week in Australia.

The Victorian government is hoping to overturn that and a suite of harrowing statistics when it comes to family violence and particularly, violence against women.

Health workers across the state are receiving training to help them spot the signs of family violence, after funding announced by the Minister for Prevention of Family Violence Gabrielle Williams.

Ms Williams said the 2019/20 state budget includes a $7.8 million boost to the Strengthening Hospital Responses to Family Violence initiative.

Some $38.4m will be spent on the program across five years to respond to a recommendation made by the 2016 Royal Commission into Family Violence.

More than 28,000 healthcare workers in public hospitals across the state have already been trained to identify and support patients experiencing family violence.

“The program offers pointers for staff on how to recognise and respond to family violence,” Bendigo Health’s clinical champion for Strengthening Hospital Responses to Family Violence Rebecca Fawcett said.

Nearly 800 clinical staff at Bendigo Health have been trained so far, with 85 per cent of emergency department and women’s health staff and 90 per cent of those working in the children’s ward already upskilled.

Ms Fawcett said a presentation of family violence is not always clear on first glance.

“It requires asking questions and finding out how things are at home. By doing that, we can recognise people’s risk factors,” she said.

The Royal Commission into Family Violence handed down 227 recommendations, all of which are being implemented by the state government.

“We have invested $2.7 billion into implementing those recommendations. That is more than any other jurisdiction, including the Commonwealth combined,” Ms Williams said.

“The Royal Commission told us that our health care settings are crucial to our objective of ending family violence in the community.”

The minister made assurances that Bendigo would have The Orange Door installed in the community within the next 12 months.

The Orange Door is a free service for those who are experiencing or have experienced family violence.

“The Orange Door is so valuable because it is about information sharing and helps to form a clear picture of risks that surround a particular individual,” Ms Williams said.

“It will bring together specialist family violence services, children’s services and perpetrator services and work with the existing services in this
region.”

– NICHOLAS NAKOS