10. Continuing care

    • Consider your patient’s safety as a paramount issue. A woman is usually a good judge of her own safety. You can help to monitor the safety of her and her children by asking about any escalation of violence.
    • Empower her to take control of decision-making; ask what she needs and present choices of actions she may take and services available.
    • Respect the knowledge and coping skills she has developed. You can help build on her emotional strengths, for example, by asking ‘How have you dealt with this situation before?’
    • Provide emotional support.
    • Ensure confidentiality – the woman may suffer additional abuse if her partner suspects she has disclosed the abuse.
    • Be familiar with appropriate referral services and their processes. Patients may need your help to seek assistance. Have information available for the patient to take with her if appropriate.

‘I dropped some hints to test the water. [The GP] was supportive without being interfering and because of this I made the decision to tell her. She was fantastic and told me about the [Domestic Violence Line] who I called and put me into contact with a women’s refuge. I am rebuilding my life, and looking forward to a happy future’.¹³

[icon name=icon-double-angle-left]9. Immigration family violence provisions

11. When your patient is the perpetrator [icon name=icon-double-angle-right]

[13] Charles George above n 10 at 36.