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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2006 Week 4 Hansard (4 May) . . Page.. 1295..

If there is police involvement, liaison between police and social work may occur, particularly in relation to clarifying matters relating to family members, contact with/location of family members and social supports.

Under the provision of s404 and 405 of the ACT Children and Young People Act 1999 and ACT Health Child Protection Policy, Emergency Department staff are mandated to report any suspected non-accidental physical injury and/or sexual abuse of children and young people by completing the ACT Health Reporting Form for Care and Protection Services and contacting the Care and Protection Services Centralised Intake Service.

(3) A Sexual Assault Flow Chart is available to staff in the triage area of the Emergency Department. The flow chart outlines the process for referral to Forensic and Medical Sexual Assault Care (FAMSAC), where a 24 hour counselling service is available. Referral can be made directly to FAMSAC on request by the patient.

The ACT Women's Health Service provides medical and counselling services for women who have experienced violence.

Hospital social workers are available to provide assistance to assault victims on an "as needed"basis.

For patients presenting with assault who are referred to Social Work:

  • an assessment is made, and an intervention undertaken to respond to and support immediate requirements, including practical requirements [eg: contacting family]. This may not include counselling at this time due to the medical status of the patient. Best practice evidence indicates that immediately following assault patients are often in a state of shock and provision of 'psychological first aid support' compared with formal counselling is a more appropriate and effective intervention;

  • for patients admitted to hospital, ongoing intervention will reflect the requirement of the patient and may include counselling;

  • for patients discharged from ED or from an inpatient admission, the emphasis of Social Work is to ensure the patient is returning to a safe environment for either themselves and/or their family members. Information is provided to the patient of agencies able to provide follow-up and ongoing counselling support eg: Victim Services Scheme; Domestic Violence Services. Some patients are directly referred to these agencies. Patients may or may not act upon the information or the referral following discharge, as is their choice;

  • while this question has been asked in relation to the patient, Social Workers frequently extend this service to the family of the assault victim if they are present; and

  • the Child At Risk Health Unit provides medical and therapeutic counselling services for children and their families where abuse is suspected or has occurred. Medical services are provided at the time of notification of abuse if Care and Protection services make a request. The Child At Risk Health Unit provides ongoing counselling.

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