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Southland DHB: Family Violence Is Not Acceptable

People are Talking…We are Talking…Family Violence is Not Acceptable

Southland District Health Board staff will be signing a giant 2 metre white ribbon in the Southland Hospital foyer tomorrow afternoon, in an effort to send the Southland community the message that family violence is not acceptable.

"Make no mistake Southland, family violence is happening here with 1,335 notifications occuring in the past financial year," said Lexie O'Shea, Interim Deputy CEO.

"Our staff see the impact of family violence on patients coming through our services and by signing this ribbon in the lead up to White Ribbon Day, we want the community to know that SDHB does not condone family violence."

"Abuse is not an accident nor is it acceptable. Family violence is everbody's business in Southland and we need to stamp it out."

Mrs O'Shea said that family violence is recognised by SDHB as a priority issue and a number of policies, procedures and guidelines are in place to help staff identify signs of family violence and to act on that.

"As health professionals, our staff have more access to families, than almost any other service provider. We are therefore in a position to identify abuse early, provide suport and offer referrals in a safe, non-judgemental way within the context of a health assessment."

"Prevention and intervention of family violence is the focus which is why we are now asking many patients screening questions about family violence in order to prevent serious harm or death."

The screening questions are part of a Ministry of Health family violence programme which is being rolled out throughout hospital departments. The Southland Hospital maternity and mental health units are already screening and  50 paediatric services staff are currently being trained to commence screening

Routine screening will be taking place for all women aged over 16 years. Youth aged 12-15 who present with signs indicative of abuse will be screened. All males 16 years and over who present with signs indicative of abuse will also be screened.

The international white ribbon day takes place on 25 November but SDHB staff will be marking the occasion starting on Thursday to heighten awareness in the community about the issue of family violence.


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