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Expansion of the Recognise, Respond and Refer Pilot and National Training for the Primary Care Workforce

Responsible government

  • Commonwealth

Fourth Action Plan actions

  • Improve support and service system responses
    • 16 Enable workforces to provide trauma-informed support with a focus on safety and recovery to victims and survivors of domestic, family and sexual violence.

What are we doing?

The Commonwealth Government is providing a total of $9.6 million between 2019-20 and 2022-23 to fund this initiative. This initiative comprises the following two streams of activity:

The first stream is an expansion of the Recognise, Respond and Refer program. This $7.5 million component comprises:

  • $1.5 million for Brisbane South Primary Health Network (PHN) to expand its existing Recognise, Respond and Refer pilot;
  • $5.7 million for an additional five PHNs to trial new locally integrated models of family violence identification, response and referral activities to better support people experiencing domestic and family violence across PHN locations; and
  • $0.3 million for an independent evaluation of the PHN pilot activities (as described above).

The second stream of activity is the National Training for Primary Health Care Workers (NTPHCW) program. This $2.1 million component comprises:

  • $0.3 million for the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners (RACGP) to update the training resource titled Abuse and Violence – Working with our patients in general practice (the White Book); and
  • $1.8 million to provide trauma-informed training for general practitioners and primary care workers to strengthen family the response to family violence.

What have we achieved so far?

Grant agreements are in place with the RACGP to update the Abuse and Violence – Working with our patients in general practice (the White Book) and the following PHNs to conduct domestic and family violence pilot activities:

  • Brisbane South PHN;
  • Central and Eastern Sydney PHN;
  • Nepean Blue Mountains PHN;
  • North Western Melbourne PHN;
  • Hunter New England and Central Coast PHN; and
  • Western Victoria PHN.

Following a procurement process, the Sax Institute has been appointed, in partnership with Australia’s National Research Organisation for Women’s Safety (ANROWS), to undertake an independent evaluation of the PHN pilot activities. The evaluation is expected to identify the extent to which each pilot model approach and/or method used by primary health care workers improves identification rates of domestic and family violence, and how these differ between pilot models. An implementation evaluation report is expected to be available from late January 2022 and the final evaluation findings expected to be available from late February 2023.

The University of Melbourne – Safer Families Consortium has been appointed to develop and deliver training for general practitioners and primary health care workers to improve the family violence response capabilities of medical staff. The Safer Families Consortium comprise the University of Melbourne, the RACGP, the Blue Knot Foundation and Phoenix Australia. Training is expected to be available from mid-2021.

What is next?

  • The Department of Health will continue to monitor grant activities.

What difference will we make?

The intended outcome of the initiative is that the primary care sector has an increased capacity and capability to identify and respond to the needs of victims of family violence.

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