SIG on Family Violence annual report

The Special Interest Group on Family Violence (SIG FV) continues to work, expanding our global connections to systematically support family doctors to address family violence in practice and policy. Our Executive group consists of the co-chairs, Hagit Dascal-Weichhendler and Nena Kopčavar Guček, who recently replaced Kelsey Hegarty, the past co-chair, Leo Pas and communications lead Raquel Gomez Bravo. In addition to this group, we have a steering committee involving various regions and Young Doctor links.

Our current and future activities are structured under six main strategies: Connect, Resource, Support, Educate, Communicate, Evaluate.


The current COVID-19 pandemic has a huge impact on family violence rates as well as on services and primary care response. Members of the SIG have been connecting and exchanging information, ideas and resources, making the connection between us stronger and empowering. Over time, we have expanded our connections across regions whilst maintaining connections and collaborating with young doctor movements, WONCA Working Parties, Special Interest Groups and networks. We have also been promoting interdisciplinary collaboration. Some members took part in the European Family Justice Centers Alliance conference at the end of 2019, and several are involved in a shared project, IMOCAFV, described below. The group continues to grow, connecting with other professionals who are interested in contributing their knowledge and ideas to the SIG FV.


Members of SIG FV are involved in promoting incorporation of the family violence (FV) agenda, training materials and other resources for health care teams and patients within their national colleges, in line with the Call to Action Statement of Recommendations on FV which was approved by WONCA Executive in March 2018.

In order to provide resources for clinicians relevant to the Family Violence upsurge during the COVID-19 pandemic a summary with useful information and links was posted on the WONCA website. see the IMOCAFV project below.


In October 2018, WONCA Executive agreed to our proposed framework for Family Violence consultancy work.


A WONCA Webinar, hosted by the WONCA President, CEO and President-Elect took place on May 3rd 2020, titled "Family Violence During COVID-19 Crisis: overview and role of primary care teams". The webinar and presentation will remain available online so they can be of use to a wider audience of primary care physicians.

Related to training is also the initiative to define family violence-related core competencies for GP's, and we will continue this work during the next months and holding a workshop on the topic hopefully in December in Berlin (postponed from June).


We continue with online newsletters to our SIG List (146 subscribed members) and recently reactivated a google group for active discussions (73 members), skillfully managed by Raquel Gomez Bravo. Meetings of the SIG FV have been conducted via zoom and skype applications for years; therefore, we are confident we can continue to function in the same mode in the future, regardless of the circumstances.

Evaluate: The IMOCAFV project was initiated in collaboration with other WONCA networks and groups. In November 2019, with the collaboration of EGPRN, EUROPREV, YDM’s, VdGM Family Violence SIG, the project received recognition through discretionary funding by WONCA World, allowing it to expand its coverage of countries worldwide. The project reviews models of care for Family Violence in the participating countries and runs a multi-country questionnaire of key persons. It will be followed later in 2020 with a questionnaire on healthcare professionals’ views regarding their tasks, conditions and possibilities for effective care of family violence in primary care. The project will define recommendations on how to facilitate implementation of good practice; it aims to extend in the meantime contacts and collaboration to more regions and countries. Links with trainers in general practice in academies and associations for family physicians around the world interested in quality assurance of family violence care will be further pursued. An online database is being created of good practices. Training on the applied methodology and professional questionnaire to define local implementation priorities are planned. Due to the Covid-19 crisis there have been some changes in the schedule.

Co-convenors: Hagit Dascal-Weichhendler and  Nena Kopčavar Guček