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GPs’ role downplayed in plan to tackle violence against women and children

The AMA calls for greater recognition of the key role played by doctors in recognising and responding to violence against women and children.

The Federal Government’s draft National Plan to End Violence Against Women and Children (the Plan) fails to identify the role of doctors in recognising and responding to violence against women and children.

The AMA says in its response to consultation on the Plan that the Federal Government’s Plan lacks clear goals, targets and direction on how Australia is going to reduce violence against women and children.

“The Plan also fails to recognise the important role of doctors in recognising and responding to violence against women and children,” the AMA’s submission says.

“The Plan needs to recognise and support GPs as mental health service providers who play a key role in early detection, intervention and provision of specialised treatment.

“The GP-patient relationship is one based on trust and support that many vulnerable groups feel comfortable reporting their experiences of family and domestic violence.”

The AMA called for a commitment to ensure primary care and mental health services are available and affordable for all Australians, particularly support for victims and perpetrators with trauma.

“This includes financial investment and a strategy to address sustainable workforce growth to meet demand, particularly in rural, regional and remote areas.”

The AMA calls for targeted support for medical professionals to combat the effects of traumatic events, such as the bushfire season and COVID-19, on family and domestic violence rates and presentations.

The AMA warns that the Plan, which has been high on the national agenda for the past 12 months, still requires significant work to see real change and to guard against it becoming another tick-the-box exercise.

The AMA expressed its disappointment that the recent public consultation on the Plan had a short consultation period and strict word limits on submissions, which reduced meaningful engagement with diverse stakeholders in this critical policy area.

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