SIG on Family Violence annual report

Hagit Dascal-Weichhendler (Israel) at left, and Kelsey Hegarty (Australia) at right, co-convenors of the SIG on Family Violence report:

The Special Interest Group on Family Violence (SIG FV), active since 2014, has focused in 2017/18 on continuing our global connections and supporting family doctors to undertake identification and care of families affected by family violence.

The group continues to grow, connecting with other professionals who are interested in contributing their knowledge and ideas to the SIG FV. Our Call to Action statement of recommendations was approved by the executive group in March of 2018, focusing on exchange and dissemination of training curricula and new knowledge from research. The statement called for colleges and academies in WONCA to address family violence policy, training and procedures as a matter of urgent priority in order to have their members supported and resourced to manage this common problem effectively and in an evidence-based manner.

SIG FV has provided support, resources and education through presentations and workshops, including at the WONCA Rural Health Conference in Cairns (May 2017) the WONCA Europe conference in Prague (June 2017) and the WONCA Asia Pacific Regional Conference in Pattaya (November 2017). We have also contributed to a number of other conferences, such as the VdGM Family Violence Group in Strasbourg (April 2017) and the AfriWon Renaissance in South Africa (August 2017). Further to this, we are connecting with other groups such as the VdGM and Equally Different, with a successful workshop that had the objective to raise awareness of the characteristics and specific needs of the LGBTQ community related to partner violence presented at the 5th VdGM Forum held in Porto in January 2018.

An extremely productive meeting was held by the SIG FV (led by ex-chair Leo Pas) collaborating with the Europrev Working Group on Mental Health and Family Violence & the European Family Justice Centres Association in Brussels (December 2017) that gathered together an enthusiastic group of 130 representatives from multidisciplinary collaboration projects on domestic violence, sexual violence and child abuse. The discussion centred around areas relating to family-oriented care, and to exchange information and risk management assessment in family violence, and the result aims to better promote a mutual understanding and collaboration of these issues amongst workers in the health care sector.

In 2018, we committed to several more conferences with abstracts accepted to hold workshops in WONCA Rural conference in India (April 2018), and WONCA Europe in Krakow (May 2018), and collaborated with both VdGM and WWWPWFM for these conferences.

We will continue to emphasize the needs for both training and research on FV. As a group we are collaborating with Dr. Raquel Gomez Bravo who is currently undertaking a PhD project related to training on Family Violence. SIG FV former Chair, Leo Pas, is currently working on training material with Young Doctors and Family Justice to combine their knowledge into a usable training package that eventually will be translated into English. We are continuing our efforts to strengthen young doctors' interest and involvement addressing family violence. We are also in the process of considering adding working consultancies to our group, to enable us to reach out, connect and support GPs and other health professionals, and to equip them with the tools and knowledge to better respond to cases of family and domestic violence.       

At the international level we are exploring the idea of offering consultancies to regional areas, to help strengthen knowledge, education and training. We continue to cooperate with organizations such as the World Health Organisation and United Nations to support our goals of making Family Violence a global health priority.

Finally, we are continuing to connect and network through communications, and have started this by updating our website, and sending through a regular newsletter to our members.

For more information email convenor