New guidelines to help GPs care for patients impacted by violence and abuse

The Hon Greg Hunt MP

Minister for Health and Aged Care

Australian health practitioners will be better able to care for patients and their children experiencing violence and abuse under new guidelines being released today.

The Royal Australian College of General Practitioners (RACGP) has released the 5th edition of The White Book, which contains updated, evidence-based guidelines designed to help health practitioners identify and respond in clinical practice to patients impacted by family and domestic violence and abuse.

To ensure the continued release of The White Book, the Morrison Government invested $300,000 over two years through the Improving Health System Response to Family and Domestic Violence – National Training for Primary Care Workforce initiative.

Minister for Health and Aged Care, Greg Hunt, said the initiative supports the Fourth Action Plan (2019-2022) of the National Plan to Reduce Violence against Women and their Children (2021-2022).

“We know family violence and abuse is sadly part of the lives of many Australians across the country. We also know victims and survivors often turn to their GP for support, and that their GPs response can make all the difference,” Minister Hunt said.

“The update of this key resource for GPs will ensure our nation’s doctors have best practice guidance on how to recognise and respond to people experiencing family and domestic violence.”

Minister for Families and Social Services Anne Ruston said the impacts of violence in the community cannot be ignored and often present in a health context.

“GPs are highly respected and trusted members of the community which means they are often the first person to which a victim-survivor will make a disclosure,” Minister Ruston said.

“This is an important update to The White Book which will equip GPs and other health practitioners with the latest evidence-based knowledge and make a real difference for patients who have made the courageous decision to disclose details of violence, assault or abuse.”

According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics Personal Safety Survey 2016, an estimated 1 in 6 (17%, or 1.6 million) women and 1 in 16 (6.1%, or 0.5 million) men had experienced physical or sexual violence from a current or previous cohabiting partner since the age of 15.

The White Book will be published on the RACGP website.

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