Not now, not ever: working with domestic violence

23 April 2019

A textbook designed to prepare students to work with victims and perpetrators of domestic violence has been published by a University of Queensland researcher.

Dr Deborah Walsh from UQ’s School of Nursing, Midwifery and Social Work hopes her book, Working with Domestic Violence: Contexts and Framework for Practice will inform the management of domestic violence for emerging human services, counselling and allied health practitioners.

“Practitioners who provide support to those experiencing violence and abuse in their relationships are at risk of causing further harm if they do not have the knowledge and skills required to manage a disclosure of violence,” Dr Walsh said.

“The impact of domestic violence is far-reaching, and leaving a domestic violence situation doesn’t always end the violence.

“In fact, it is frequently the point at which the violence escalates and is one of the greatest risk factors for homicide.”

One in six women, and one in 16 men, have experienced physical and/or sexual violence by a current or former partner.

In Australia in 2018, 69 women died as a result of male violence, and 15 women have already died this year.

“The data appears to show that the situation is getting worse, not better, and we need to be doing more,” Dr Walsh said.

Minister for the Prevention of Domestic and Family Violence Di Farmer MP launched the book on Wednesday 17 April at a special event at the UQ Art Museum.

Dr Walsh said having the support of the Minister was fitting.

“The Minister’s department is leading the implementation of the key recommendations from the Not Now, Not Ever report and is driving change by investing in and strengthening the services available to this vulnerable population,” she said.

The report’s recommendations seek to shift community attitudes towards domestic violence, improve the services available to victims, and strengthen the response of the justice system.

Dr Walsh is a domestic and family violence specialist practitioner with more than 20 years’ experience working with both survivors and perpetrators.

She developed one of Australia’s first risk assessment frameworks for use in family violence work and continues to provide training and consultancy to the health and welfare sector.

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