Hospital backs White Ribbon Day

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The Nelson Marlborough District Health Board affirmed their commitment to the White Ribbon campaign on Thursday when senior staff members signed a pledge to never commit, condone or remain silent about violence towards women.

NMDHB’s Hilary Exton says by signing the White Ribbon pledge, the organisation is reinforcing its commitment to improving health outcomes in the community.

“In Nelson and Wairau hospitals the Violence Intervention Programme, or VIP, aims to reduce and prevent the health impacts of family violence and neglect,” she says. “Violence isn’t just physical. It’s also emotional or verbal behaviour used to control someone through fear.”

Two VIP coordinators are based at Nelson and Wairau Hospitals. Their role is to train DHB staff to recognise and respond to child abuse and screen for partner abuse and more recently introducing specific screening for Elder Abuse.

The DHB has had Child Protection and Partner Abuse Policies and procedures in place since 2007, which Gina Lyon, VIP coordinator says are the foundations of the Violence Intervention programme.

“Through early identification and assessment, victims of family violence are supported and referred to appropriate services or agencies,” Gina says.“There is a lot of great work happening by midwives, social workers, nurses, medical and other staff across the organisation towards addressing this important health issue.”

The Violence Intervention Programme offers ongoing training for staff particularly across designated services such as emergency, maternity, public health, child health, sexual health, mental health, alcohol and drug. It is continuing to expand into other clinical areas both within hospital and community services.

Ninety-eight per cent of staff in these areas have been trained. There have been 279 identified cases of family violence since January 2015.

The VIP team also promotes networking and information sharing among domestic violence agencies, ensuring an effective multi-agency response to the matter of family violence.