ED nurses committed to reducing family violence

26 August 2015

Caption: From left, WDHB Emergency Department registered nurses Kim Richdale and Sandya Sreejith show off the new posters.
Whanganui Hospital Emergency Department (ED) nurses are aiming to contribute to reducing family violence through the introduction of a poster to encourage patients to ask for help while in the care of health professionals.
Aware that posters placed on the walls of the ED cubicles are well read, the nurses asked WDHB Violence Intervention Programme (VIP) coordinator Barbara Charuk if she would develop a poster that clearly shows violence is not always physical, and is never acceptable.
Mrs Charuk says that sadly, many people believe family violence is physical only, when in fact, perpetrators use many different tactics to have power and control over their victims.
“These tactics include emotional abuse, coercion and threats, economic abuse, isolating the victim, using children and denying, blaming and minimising,” Mrs Charuk says.
“If a patient is lying in an ED bed reading our new ‘Power and control’ posters based on those commonly used by family violence agencies, we hope it will give them the confidence to ask for help.
“We also have the Violence Intervention Network agencies poster which will sit side-by-side with the ‘Power and control’ poster.”
Mrs Charuk says she’s delighted the ED nurses have been so proactive in supporting the work of the Whanganui DHB’s Violence intervention Programme. 
“It didn’t surprise me when they told me they wanted to find other ways to support the efforts of the programme. The ED nurses are very committed and well trained to screen for family violence and support the patients who come forward asking for help.
“When this happens, ED staff know they’re not on their own. We have social workers and our DHB VIP champions to support them and we work closely with Women’s Refuge. This is a relationship we value very much along with the other community agencies we work with.”