Keeping our Kids Safe — Children’s Health Team

AP15_ViolenceInterventionPSince this team was formed in The Otaki health team’s vision remains a violence free Otaki population by 2040. Family Violence Intervention screening will start at Otaki Medical in May 2015.

Our vision is for all people in Otaki to live a healthy fulfilled life; and any money currently spent on family violence intervention will be freed up to be spent on other health needs. Significant progress has been made in the Horowhenua/Otaki area. Drawing from the experience of local representatives from health, social services and education this team has had 56 referrals to date. The team is buoyed by this which indicates to them that the scheme to support and help at risk kids is working well. There is good support and ‘buy in’ locally for the scheme.

The majority of all staff at Otaki Medical Centre, PHO staff and the laboratory staff have completed the five hour Family Violence Intervention screening training offered on two separate sessions in mid March. The receptionists will not be screening but have had training as they also need to know how the system works. The District Nurses will get training from the Palmerston Hospital.

The Otaki staff were lucky to have Dr Faye Clarke and Debs Higgins facilitate the training. Dr Faye Clarke is an experienced educator and GP from Doctors for Sexual Abuse Care. Debs Higgins is a registered nurse and the Family Violence Coordinator from Hastings Health Centre. Hastings Health Centre started their screening programme in 2008 in response to James Whakaruru’s death with seeding governmental funding. A Hastings’s Health Centre GP and his lawyer patient deciding things could be done better. Hastings Health Centre has gifted their screening programme to Otaki and has been very supportive of the Otaki staff getting to this point. Juliet Scott the Family Violence coordinator from MidCentral DHB attended the two training sessions and continues to also actively support this pilot at Otaki.

A panel including Slade Sturmey, the local Otaki Police Sergant, CYFS managers, Palmerston North Women’s Refuge Levin based Social worker, Te Roopu Whakaruruhau( Maori Women’s Refuge) representatives, Paediatrician Amy Hinder and Juliet Scott all helped to provide staff with useful up to date information.

All this means when screening starts in May for all women over 16 years or sexually active women, that everyone on the health team at Otaki will be following twenty first century best practice. Clinical staff will ensure children are supported if family violence is confirmed.
All local groups including Nga Hapu, health providers,education providers and social agencies contacted in Otaki are supportive of this pilot.