GP Toolkit

When she talks to you
about the violence

A toolkit for GPs in NSW

Contact Women’s Legal Service NSW to order hard copies of the GP Toolkit

Over 1 in 5 women make their first disclosure
of domestic violence to their GP.¹

You may be the only person she will tell.
Your skills and sensitivity are essential.

This resource has been developed to assist you in identifying and responding to women and children who have experienced or are experiencing family violence (also known as ‘domestic violence’ or ‘intimate partner violence’.)

‘It has been estimated that full time GPs are seeing up to five women per week who have experienced some form of intimate partner abuse (physical, emotional or sexual) in the past 12 months’.²

The toolkit contains guidelines for patient care, from a range of sources, as well as some legal information relevant to your role as her GP.

‘The Medical Profession has key roles to play in early detection, intervention and provision of specialized treatment of those who suffer the consequences of domestic violence, whether it be physical, sexual or emotional.’³

Responding effectively to family violence requires knowledge of the physical and emotional consequences of the violence, an understanding of appropriate and inappropriate responses, and having good networks with local family violence services.

After family and friends, victims are most likely to tell health professionals about violence.

1. What is family violence? [icon name=icon-double-angle-right]

Please contact Women’s Legal Service NSW for legal advice or further information about the GP Toolkit.



This toolkit has been developed by Women’s Legal Service NSW, with the generous assistance of several individuals and organisations. It updates and extend ‘Identifying Family Violence: A Resource Kit for General Practitioners in New South Wales,’ 1999, Domestic Violence Advocacy Service NSW.

Information about the law is presented in summary form and should not be relied upon as a substitute for professional legal advice.

Organisations have permission to reproduce parts or the whole of the publication for the purposes of workshops, seminars, etc as long as the original meaning is retained and proper credit given.


This publication has been produced with the financial assistance of the Law and Justice Foundation of NSW. The Foundation seeks to advance the fairness and equity of the justice system and to improve access to justice, especially for socially and economically disadvantaged people.

Disclaimer: any opinions expressed in this publication are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Law and Justice Foundation’s Board of Governors.

Published in October 2013.

1. What is family violence? [icon name=icon-double-angle-right]

[1] Jo Spangaro & Anthony Zwi, After the Questions: Impact of Routine Screening for Domestic Violence in NSW Health Services, (School of Public Health and Community Medicine, The University of New South Wales, 18 August 2010), 22.
[2] Gwenneth Roberts et al, Intimate Partner Abuse and Health Professionals: New Approaches to Domestic Violence, (London: Churchill Livingstone Elsevier, 2006), 19-40, cited in Jane London, Abuse and Violence: Working with Our Patients in General Practice (The Royal Australian College of General Practitioners, 3rd ed, 2008) 11.
[3] Australian Medical Association, AMA Position Statement on Domestic Violence, (Canberra, AMA, 1998) 1.
[4] Keys Young, Against the Odds: How Women Survive Domestic Violence, (Office of the Status of Women, 1998).