WDHB introduces new VIP coordinator
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Newly appointed Whanganui District Health Board (WDHB) Violence Intervention Programme coordinator Barbara Charuk.
Newly appointed Whanganui District Health Board (WDHB) Violence Intervention Programme coordinator Barbara Charuk, is strongly committed to the DHB's obligation to screen for family violence and raise awareness that help is at hand.
 
Ms Charuk has taken on the role previously held by Mars Delamere who, early last year, was instrumental in making sure the WDHB stepped up its effort to address family violence. As required by national policy, every female aged 16 and over is asked three key questions during their admission process to hospital.
 
Wanganui Hospital clinical staff have been trained to ask questions to help establish whether female patients are experiencing, or are affected by, family violence – physical, sexual, psychological and/or emotional.
 
Ms Charuk says the questions are carefully framed so more direct questions can be asked if staff consider there could be an issue. Since questioning began in July 2010, a number of women have been referred to social workers.
 
While Ms Charuk believes the Violence Intervention Programme is effective, she says reducing family violence will be a long, slow process that sees future generations experiencing the true benefit of the efforts being made today.
 
“If we can help stamp out family violence now, it’s the future generations who will grow up in a violence-free environment,” she says. “While it’s wonderful that we’re helping to stop violence in homes today, many children have already witnessed their mothers and female family members being hurt, and that can have a lasting impact.”
 
To illustrate the WDHB’s commitment to stopping violence in families, all WDHB staff, including administration staff, must attend training to help them feel confident about identifying and passing on any concerns they might have about a woman admitted to Wanganui Hospital. Mothers of children admitted to hospital are also questioned.
 
Ms Charuk says the Emergency Department; Whanganui Accident and Medical; paediatrics; sexual health and women’s health; mental health services; alcohol and drug; and maternity were the first areas in which staff were trained to ask questions.
 
The training programme has since been rolled out to include the dentistry outpatients service, surgical and medical wards, community health services and administration staff.
 
Caption: Newly appointed Whanganui District Health Board (WDHB) Violence Intervention Programme coordinator Barbara Charuk.