Hunter services discuss domestic and family violence and brain injury

HUNTER domestic and family violence services and Hunter New England Health staff met in Newcastle on Thursday 7 December to discuss domestic and family violence injuries, with a focus on acquired brain injury.

The roundtable, initiated by the Hunter Domestic and Family Violence (DFV) Consortium, was attended
by 30 specialist DFV services and health workers from across the Hunter region, including Port Stephens.

“The purpose of the Roundtable is to focus on what is happening in our region for women and children victim-survivors of DFV who are at risk of, or have, an acquired brain injury as a result of the violence, and how we can best respond and support them,” said Sue Pollock, Manager, Port Stephens Family and Neighbourhood Services, and Hunter DFV Consortium member.

Roundtable participants heard presentations and then engaged in group discussions about current responses, pathways, opportunities and next steps.

“This is an initial conversation to share what we are seeing and already doing in regard to brain injury and DFV, assess how we are identifying and responding to victim-survivors at risk of brain injury, identify where the gaps are in both our sectors, and develop actions for what we can do together to ensure access to timely and appropriate health care,” said Ms Pollock.

“In the past, symptoms such as headaches or memory loss have often been attributed to trauma, PTSD, anxiety or depression, even alcohol and drug use, but we are now coming to realise that a lot of these effects can be attributed to possible brain injury as a result of physical violence.

“Everyone attending the roundtable wants things to be different for women and children subjected to domestic and family violence.

“We are committed to moving forward together to better support women and children in the Hunter,” said Ms Pollock.

For further information, contact Sue Pollock, Manager, Port Stephens Family and Neighbourhood Services on 0438 977 706.

By Simon EKINS

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