A lifeline for someone in need

SCGH Social Work

Did you know one in six women and one in sixteen men have experienced physical or sexual violence from a current or previous partner?

One woman is killed every nine days, and one man is killed every 29 days by a partner.

Unfortunately, the staff at the emergency department at Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital know these statistics all too well.

Over the last few years, we gave teams around the hospitals the opportunity to raise money for their department or for a particular project via our Giving Day. One of those teams was our Allied Health team.

Allied health is a term used to describe the healthcare professionals who aren’t necessarily doctors, nurses or dentists, but are qualified practitioners with specialised expertise in preventing, diagnosing and treating a range of conditions and illnesses.

The Allied Health team managed to raise an incredible $11,215 for a project of their choice, and given the need seen in the emergency department, it was decided some of the money would be best spent trying to help domestic violence victims.

Social workers Alison Maclean and Mary Joyce saw an obvious way the social work department could directly help people in these circumstances.

“One of the things we see most often is that victims of domestic violence have their phones damaged or taken away from them by the perpetrator,” says Alison.

“So, we saw a need to provide a replacement mobile phone so that they are not isolated and can contact emergency services, family and friends for support if they need to,” she says.

Social Workers are regularly dealing with people who have experienced domestic violence, which can be physical, sexual, emotional, social, verbal and economic. Domestic abuse can happen regardless of a person’s ethnic group, income level, education, religion, or sexual orientation.

“We had a patient last week who had suffered non- fatal strangulation, this is a red flag for domestic violence and comes with a delayed risk of serious physical injury."

In Australia 1 in 3 hospitalisations due to assault injuries were a result of family and domestic violence. On average 8 women and 2 men are hospitalised each day after being assaulted by their spouse or partner.

Mary and Alison said the phones would be like a lifeline to patients like this and they hope they can continue this initiative in the future. It’s only with the help of people like you that this support can be offered to domestic violence victims.