How you can provide support to victims of domestic violence in Western Sydney Local Health District

Approximately one in four women in Australia have experienced violence by an intimate partner.

“Violence in any form is a violation of human rights,” said Lisa Cook, Violence, Abuse, and Neglect Educator for Western Sydney Local Health District’s (WSLHD) Integrated Violence Prevention & Response Service (IVPRS).

The 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence is an annual international campaign committed to raising awareness about the impacts of violence and calling for the prevention and elimination of violence against women and girls.

The campaign runs from 25 November – the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women – through to 10 December – Human Rights Day – and is a timely reminder for health workers and the community.

“Victims of domestic violence continuously make decisions for their safety. How health workers and the community respond can have a significant impact on the person’s experience of support, dignity and how they build on their safety going forward,” said Rebeca Nassif, Community Development Counsellor, IVPRS WSLHD.

How ready are you to respond?

Follow My Lead video by Insight Exchange, is an awareness-raising resource for anybody who, or those who may be listening to, or responding to friends, family members, colleagues, peers who are experiencing domestic and family violence (DFV).

Watch here

If the person you are supporting would like counselling support, referrals can be made to the IVPRS Domestic Violence Counselling Service. This service provides specialist, trauma-informed counselling at no cost to people from across western Sydney who have experienced domestic violence.

If you’re supporting someone who has experienced a recent, physical domestic violent incident, they are also able to access the Forensic Medical Unit (FMU) at Blacktown Hospital to document their domestic violence experiences. 

“The FMU is a specialised service in which injuries can be documented and photographed, and then included as part of an expert certificate for Police,” said Fernando Pisani, Head of Department for the FMU.

WSLHD health workers can access other resources about working with patients/clients who are or have experienced domestic violence via the IVPRS intranet page that is only accessible to WSLHD staff.

If you, or anyone you know, is experiencing domestic violence, when it’s safe to do so, you can contact the following supports:

  • NSW Domestic Violence Line, for crisis counselling, referral, or support on 1800 65 64 63
  • 1800RESPECT on 1800 737 732 for sexual assault, domestic and family violence counselling and support services
  • Link2Home on 1800 152 152 who can help refer women experiencing domestic violence to crisis accommodation
  • Child Protection Helpline – 13 21 11
  • Lifeline – 13 11 14
  • WSLHD IVPRS – 9881 8787

If you are in immediate danger or in an emergency, always contact Triple Zero (000).