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Funding the MCH Service to respond to family violence

In January 2018 the Andrews Labor Government announced it was increasing support for new mothers and their babies experiencing family violence through extra maternal and child health service consultations and nurse training.

The government provided $11 million for 12,000 hours of additional support and outreach visits so that more women and their children can be kept safe. The extra consultations allow discussions to take place at a time and place that is safe for the mother and her children. Additional professional development training in family violence and trauma-based response care is also being rolled out to maternal and child health nurses across the state.

‘My early relational trauma informed learning’ (MERTIL) training has been developed by Deakin University and the Royal Women’s Hospital and is being rolled out to maternal and child health nurses in 2018 and 2019.

This program will upskill maternal and child health nurses to recognise and respond to parents and young children affected by trauma. It looks at effects beyond family violence, related to mental illness, grief, and substance abuse, and focuses on at-risk populations.

Maternal and child health nurses have also been prioritised for training in child information and family violence information sharing schemes being rolled out by the Andrews Government.

The Family Violence Information Sharing Scheme, the Child Information Sharing Scheme and the  Multi-Agency Risk Assessment and Management Framework (MARAM) have been developed in response to several coronial inquests and independent inquiries conducted over the past decade.

The information sharing schemes are aimed at removing barriers to information sharing to allow professionals to work together, across the service system, to make more informed decisions and better respond to the needs of children and families.

Authorised by Lisa Fitzpatrick, Secretary, ANMF (Vic Branch), 535 Elizabeth Street, Melbourne VIC 3000