Nurses and midwives who are experiencing family violence should know that they will be in safe hands if they access counselling and support at the Nursing and Midwifery Health Program of Victoria (NMHPV).
The organisation has expanded its focus beyond offering its traditional upport for nurses and midwives experiencing mental health issues and substance use concerns to include family violence specific assistance.
NMHPV has produced a series of five fact sheets about family violence, and said Victorian nurses and midwives can safely disclose to the free and confidential service if they want to talk about their experiences of family violence.
‘In the past we’ve worked with people who’ve declared – as part of their health concerns – that they were experiencing family violence and there are people who’ve hinted at it but not disclosed. We now know, given the data, that there have been people sitting in front of us who either didn’t declare it or didn’t recognise that they were experiencing family violence,’ NMHPV CEO Glenn Taylor said.
NMHPV, established 12 years ago, is run by nurses and midwives who understand the work environment and pressures of their professions. The service is client-centred, meaning that clients decide what and when they want to disclose, and any changes they choose to make in their lives.
Mr Taylor said the organisation was addressing needs identified by the 2016 Royal Commission into Family Violence. As nursing is a 91 per cent female workforce, family violence would affect many members of the professions and this service expansion is designed to give nurses and midwives another avenue to specialist support.
At the 2017 Nurses and Midwives Wellness Conference, Victorian Health Minister Jill Hennessy announced the Andrews Government would take over the funding of the organisation, securing the unique, individual counselling and support model the NMHPV offers to Victorian nurses and midwives.
Mr Taylor emphasised that NMHPV is not a family violence specialist but ‘a safe entry point’ to those specialist services.
‘”Recognise, respond, refer” is our mantra in terms of this issue,’ Mr Taylor said. The organisation will recognise the client and their issue, respond in a non-judgmental manner and refer to a specialist organisation if required and if this is what the client wants.
View the NMHPV’s family violence fact sheets.