Important Changes to Domestic Violence Information Sharing



The RACGP has updated its white paper to meet new requirements regarding how information is shared between departments and organizations.

The new chapter has been developed to provide GPs in Victoria with practical ‘when, how and why’ advice.

“I came in thinking domestic violence was rare and now I’ve learned it’s common.”

“Rather, I feel like it’s my duty of care to ask questions and incorporate domestic violence issues into my consultation.”

“I feel more confident to assess and support a patient who is being abused.”

These are testimonials from some GPs participating in the Safer Families Centre’s Readiness Program, a training program that helps primary care providers better recognize and respond to family and domestic abuse and violence.

Already an activity labeled DPC RACGP, the training is now supplemented by a new additional chapter of the White Book of the college.

The new chapter provides an overview of recent Victorian domestic violence policy reforms, which aim to increase the safety of surviving victims of domestic violence, hold perpetrators accountable, and promote the well-being and safety of victims. children.

Last year, the Victorian Government’s Domestic Violence Information Sharing Program (FVISS) and Children’s Information Sharing Program (CISS) were expanded to include primary care services as information sharing entities (ISE). Only services that are prescribed as ISE are able to share information under FVISS and CISS.

The new chapter in the white paper outlines the responsibilities of GPs and primary care nurses in these information-sharing programs, underpinned by the Multi-Agency Risk Assessment and Management (MARAM) framework.

Together, these three reforms allow primary care workers to collaborate with other service providers to form a common understanding of family violence risk and implement changes in practice.

Professor Kelsey Hegarty, clinical editor of the White Book and director of the Safer Families Centre, said newsGP the chapter is an important update to support GPs in Victoria.

“The chapter explains how to undertake a risk assessment, how to respond to requests to share information, and how to share information in ways that keep survivors and their children safe,” she said.

“It has been developed to provide practical advice to GPs and primary care nurses on when, how and why they should use the new legislation.

“In addition, the Pathways to Safety program – which enables a generalist facilitator and a domestic violence worker to engage in practice aimed at improving the skills of all staff to identify and respond to domestic violence – is also available for clinics.

Complementing the Readiness Program’s six e-learning modules, the new chapter has been developed from one of those modules – “Supporting Primary Care to Implement Domestic Violence Information Sharing”.

Dr Magdalena Simonis is the author of this module and helped develop the additional chapter of the White Paper, which she says is a ‘quick access’ version of Victorian information sharing systems.

“It gives a snapshot, uses the same numbers and guides, and is a great user-friendly summary,” Dr. Simonis said. newsGP.

“Given that GPs are often short on time, he provides the key points in a clear manner.”

According to Dr Simonis, the additional chapter aims to help GPs in Victoria comply with the 10 recommendations included in the four pillars of the MARAM framework:


  • Common Understanding of Family Violence
  • Participation in consistent and collaborative practices – including risk assessments and information sharing
  • Understand the level of responsibility for risk assessment and management
  • Undertake systems, results and continuous improvements at the organizational level

“The chapter will help GPs by simplifying the MARAM, which at first glance seems quite complicated,” said Dr Simonis.

“It also recognizes that GPs play an important role in supporting women and families experiencing domestic violence.”

A key barrier reported by GPs when trying to address domestic violence is lack of access to existing training resources, resulting in a lack of knowledge on how to respond, manage and refer these patients.

In addition to updated Victorian curricula, the new chapter provides summaries of risk assessment, safety planning, management and referral pathways, which are then further described in the online module.

‘He explains the consent process, how it differs from the author, how to respond to requests for information from other ISEs or RAEs [risk-assessment entities]and offers practical advice,” said Dr Simonis.

Under FVISS, certain ISEs are also prescribed as Risk Assessment Entities (RAEs) – a special type of ISE – which can request information to undertake comprehensive risk assessments, including establishing risk when the presence of violence or the identity of the perpetrator is unknown. .

Updating the White Paper in response to new requirements also helps support a multi-agency approach, which is “vital” to improving the safety of victim-survivors and children, and holding the user of violence accountable – according to the preparation program.

Dr Simonis said this clearly fits with the important and ongoing role of GPs.

“We are now required to identify, respond to, and provide a safety, risk, and management plan for survivors of domestic violence, as well as collaborate with other service providers over time,” a- she declared.

The additional chapter for primary care providers in Victoria is available on the Whitepaper webpage.

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