WA Health has allocated $1.56 million for a three-year program to improve screening rates for family and domestic violence during pregnancy, starting in 2018.
Western Australia has the second highest rate of reported physical and sexual violence perpetrated against women in Australia, second only to the Northern Territory. The nationwide projected health burden of family and domestic violence is $15.6 billion by 2023.
Some expecting mothers are exposed to a spike in the prevalence and severity of violence from their intimate partners, accompanied by a greater risk of injury to both women and their babies.
Poor birth outcomes (such as low birth weight, premature birth) and post-natal depression are associated with domestic and family violence during pregnancy.
The money will fund a co-ordinator and three new education and training positions. The staff will provide comprehensive training in screening and responding to disclosures of violence for WA Health staff, across the metropolitan areas and the WA Country Health Service.
The evidence-based program, operated by the Women and Newborn Health Service, will update existing family and domestic guidelines to ensure that all pregnant women in WA are screened for family and domestic violence in the context of other health and social issues.
If you or someone you know is impacted by family and domestic violence, call 1800RESPECT or visit https://www.1800respect.org.au. In an emergency, call 000.
Source: WA Government