A Violence Free Otaki by 2040

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Representative from seven community organisations attended a workshop recently to explain Otaki’s anti-violence project hosted and led by nurses from the Otaki Medical Centre (OTMC).

The Medical Centre has funding for a two year pilot and plans a May 2015 start date with a three goal vision: To enable people to achieve their full potential, to live in a healthy community and to free-up resources used in treating family violence for other health needs. Family violence costs an estimated $8.2 billion a year.

Otaki has rather dreadful statistics. Between October 2013 and September 2014 there were 251 episodes reported and the police believe that only 10-20% of cases are reported.

Drawing on six years of research to formulate good policy which will provide OTMC staff with a framework to identify and manage family violence including actual or suspected child abuse and neglect. The key is the three ‘R’s – recognise, respond and refer.

The OMC is at the forefront of this programme and the first in the MidCentral (MCH) district to use a specially designed computer programme – the family violence intervention programme. Supported by MCH and the OTMC team and the Central PHO, three nurses are developing the computer screening programme using guidelines and models from the Ministry of Health and Hastings where the intervention programme was first developed. All women over 16 and any sexually active woman under 16 will be screened. Children will also be screened for any red flags of abuse. The hospital admissions in the Hawkes Bay as a result of domestic violence have dropped since the programme was introduced.

The general practice is the best place to start as it is often the first port of call for victims. With this programme it is hoped that the myriad of health issues associated with violence, from depression, anxiety, drug and alcohol abuse will diminish. We, as a community, can get behind this initiative of making Otaki violence free by 2040 by providing a safe confidential environment for women and children to seek help and therefore break the cycle of violence which has blighted so many lives over many years.