Breaking the Silence: Exploring responses to Domestic and Family Violence in Clinical Practice

Mr Angel Carrasco1, A/Prof Kathleen Baird1

1Gold Coast Health, Southport, Australia

Allied Health Clinicians are often at the front face of health services providing direct clinical support, counselling and specialist referral to women experiencing domestic and family violence (DFV). This presentation explores a qualitative research project that was undertaken at Gold Coast Health investigating the various approaches and responses to domestic and family violence used by clinicians in direct clinical practice from the perspective of a range of health care workers including allied health clinicians. Clinical staff employed at the relevant departments of a large, tertiary hospital were invited to participate in semi-structured interviews which were recorded, and transcribed. These transcripts were then read by two individual researchers and coded for themes and subthemes using an inductive and iterative approach inherent in the grounded theory methodology (Creswell, 1998). Six major themes emerged from the data as being of particular relevance to clinicians working in the area of DFV. These themes were (1) ‘Training and education’ for staff; (2) ‘Resources and support’ for people experiencing¬† DFV; (3) ‘Perceptions and attitudes’ of both patients and staff regarding DFV; (4) ‘Organisational approach to patient care’; (5) ‘protocols and guidelines’; and (6) ‘Patient safety’. These themes within clinical practice, along with other pertinent issues and recommendations described by participants, will be discussed in this presentation. This research obtained HREC approval by the GCHHS HREC Committee.


Angel Carrasco is Director of Social Work and Support Services at Gold Coast Health and was instrumental in establishing the first Domestic and Family Violence Co-ordinator (Advanced Social Worker) role in Queensland Health.

NAHC Conferences

2007, Hobart (7th NAHC)

2009, Canberra (8th NAHC)

2012, Canberra (9th NAHC)

2013, Brisbane (10th NAHC)

2015, Melbourne (11th NAHC)

2017, Sydney (12th NAHC)

2019, Brisbane (13th NAHC)

Conference Managers

Please contact the team at Conference Design with any questions regarding the conference.

Photo Credits: Tourism & Events Queensland

© 2017 Conference Design Pty Ltd