Sustainable Primary Care Family Violence Model


Project Lead
Kelsey Hegarty


What’s this project about?

The North West Melbourne Primary Health Network is working with the University of Melbourne to provide targeted family violence education to general practice.

The program is based on the Sustainable Primary Care Family Violence Model developed by the Safer Families Centre. It also connects with work of the Royal Australian College of General Practice (RACGP).

Evidence of contemporary best practice informing this Model includes systematic reviews of health care interventions and qualitative studies, international primary care guidelines and evaluation of primary care-based family violence studies. To read the discussion paper about this model, please click here.

The Sustainable Primary Care Family Violence Model promotes integrated, interdisciplinary and sustainable supports.

Key elements of the model are:

  1. Clear leadership and governance arrangements required for system change.

  2. Linked primary care and family violence providers by practice support from a clinical lead and a family violence worker undertaking secondary consultations.

  3. Coordinated referrals by engaging a network of primary care and specialised organisations (family violence, sexual assault, child protection) in a geographical catchment to deliver a joined-up response. Clear referral protocols and pathways coordinated by the family violence worker will ensure all members of the family are guided to seek help.

  4. Improved workforce capability through whole-of-organisation based support, resourcing and primary care training (by the clinical lead and family violence worker) to improve knowledge, skills, and confidence of both clinical and nonclinical staff to identify and respond to family violence.

  5. Feedback, evaluation and improvement systems essential to any sustainable program, ensuring that constant improvements are shaped by timely feedback and local evidence.

icon shot.PNG

What can we expect to come out of this project?

The Safer Families Centre will seek funding to see if implementation of the Sustainable Primary Care Family Violence Model results in the following outcomes:

  1. Better resourced and supported primary care services and health practitioners.

  2. Increased identification and improved risk assessment for family violence.

  3. Increased and more-timely disclosure and referral of women, men and children affected by family violence.

  4. Improved family health and functioning.

  5. Improved family safety and reduced family violence.

What has this project achieved so far?

The Model is offering value by utilising existing best-practice curriculum, ensuring that there is an integrated and comprehensive approach to the training and development aspects of the program:

  • The University of Melbourne’s evidence-based curriculum has been successfully implemented in several Victorian regions.

  • The UK Bristol University IRIS project materials are available to the Safer Families Centre.

  • The La Trobe University Harmony curriculum has been piloted and is being tested in 2019 for South Asian patients.

  • RACGP have developed materials that can be accessed by GPs and Aboriginal health workers.

Watch Prof Kelsey Hegarty talk about the Sustainable Primary Care Family Violence Model