The World Health Organisation’s Clinical and Policy guidelines for responding to intimate partner violence and sexual violence against women state:
“Women who have been subjected to violence often seek health care, including for their injuries, even if they do not disclose the associated abuse or violence.
A health care provider is likely to be the first professional contact for survivors of intimate partner violence or sexual assault. Statistics show that abused women use health care services more than non-abused women do. They also identify health care providers as the professionals they would most trust with disclosure of abuse.”
WCCC has developed resources to make it easier for health staff to identify when abuse is happening and to refer women on to WCCC services. All health clinics, health centres and women and children’s hospital services have been provided with a poster, pamphlets and WCCC referral forms.
The pamphlet gives information on different types of abuse. This is important for health services which tend to focus primarily on physical wellbeing. As well as physical abuse, the pamphlet describes emotional, sexual and financial abuse. It identifies women’s rights to equality and respect and that the perpetrator is responsible for his behaviour. It then gives contact details for WCCC and reassurance that help is available. The poster identifies services available at WCCC and gives all contact options.
A referral form was developed in consultation with the Ministry of Health. It includes details required by WCCC and reminds health staff that referrals can be made at any time by phone, email or hand delivered to the office.
The health professional identifies the reason for referral by circling services provided and/or client presenting issues. It is hoped this will also be a reminder to health staff of the breadth of services provided by WCCC.
Many were pleased to be reminded that WCCC provides home visits for counselling when clients are unable to get to the office.
The photo shows Paea Hingaro, Health Officer at Houma Health Centre holding the poster given by Lesieli Tatafu, WCCC Nurse Advisor.