Co-workers ready to help

Colac Area Health’s Geoff Iles, centre right, says the service is working to support people affected by family violence. He is with, from left, Leanne Klahsen, Jenny Salkeld, Christine Craik, Peter Kelly and Deb Matthews.

Colac Area Health is showing leadership supporting employees and volunteers affected by family violence, with a program educating staff to help at-risk co-workers.

Chief executive Geoff Iles launched the Family Violence Workplace Support Program on Thursday, which helps staff respond appropriately if a fellow staff member or volunteer discloses their experience of family violence.

“This approach recognises that we need to care for the carers before we can expect them to support others coming into our health service,” Mr Iles said.

Family violence prevention organisation Our Watch says that one-in-three women surveyed in Australia experienced physical violence from the age of 15.

“We know that a significant proportion of our staff will either directly or indirectly be impacted by violence, and this violence is most likely to be committed by someone they know,” Mr Iles said.

He said the hospital’s managers had learnt ways to recognise the signs of family violence and respond appropriately to family violence disclosures, with that training now available to a wider staff group.

See Wednesday’s Colac Herald for more.

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