AMA submission to the Senate Finance and Public Administration References Committee Inquiry into Domestic Violence and Gender Inequality

The Australian Medical Association (AMA) has provided a submission to the Senate Finance and Public Administration inquiry into domestic violence and gender inequality.  

The AMA defines family and domestic violence as acts that involve physical, sexual, financial, emotional and psychological abuse within families, or between people involved in intimate relationships.  While family and domestic violence is often physical, it can also involve controlling behaviours in the form of threats, isolation, control of finances and other restrictions.

Family and domestic violence is not always fatal or life threatening, but for those exposed to abuse and violence, the consequences can be lifelong.  It is not only the victims of violence that need support, all family members should be offered support and treatment from appropriately trained medical professionals.  The AMA also supports measures and interventions to help perpetrators of abusive and violent behaviour address their actions and attitudes.  Education is needed to change attitudes and behaviours towards FDV, and best practice models should be supported.  

The AMA recognises that there are different gender health issues; that men and women have different health needs, different health problems and different health behaviours.  These gender differences do play a role in the ways men and women access health care and seek help.  This is relevant in terms of disclosure of family and domestic violence to a medical practitioner, as well as in attitudes towards prevention, referrals and support.

The AMA and the Law Council of Australia has produced a report Supporting Patients Experiencing Family Violence.  This report describes how to identify and respond to patients who have experienced or are experiencing family violence.  It contains information about specialist support services, including health, mental health, drug and alcohol, legal, family support and child protection services.  The report can be found at:

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