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CEO Update: Events with WHO expert Dr Claudia Garcia-Moreno
Wednesday, 9th November 2016
The highlight of the past fortnight was the launch of research papers commissioned by ANROWS on the burden of disease of intimate partner violence and associated engagement activities. Two research papers were released: Examination of the burden of disease of intimate partner violence in 2011: Final report, led by a team of researchers at the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, and a companion piece, A preventable burden: Measuring and addressing the prevalence and health impacts of intimate partner violence in Australian women: Key findings and future directions, prepared by Kim Webster. The research was launched by Dr Claudia Garcia-Moreno, the World Health Organisation’s leading specialist on violence against women, at an event in Canberra. The event featured a Q&A with Dr Lynelle Moon from the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare and Dr Peta Cox from ANROWS, and a presentation from Dr Garcia-Moreno on the burden of disease of intimate partner violence globally. The discussions clarified the complex methodology, noting it is robust and best practice in measuring the health impacts of any conditions/diseases, in a population and its implications for future policy and practice in the health system.
Following the launch in Canberra, I had the pleasure of travelling to Cairns in Far North Queensland with Dr Garcia-Moreno to facilitate a workshop with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women. The workshop was convened in partnership with Wuchopperen Health Service and the Cairns Regional Domestic Violence Service. The women were pleased to meet with Dr Garcia-Moreno and to hear about the new research, but emphasised the need to consider the prevalence and burden of disease of intimate partner violence against Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women as part of a broader phenomenon of violence against women perpetrated by a range of family members, including sons. For them, future directions must include holistic responses to violence against Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women, addressing the broader range of contributing factors such as high levels of drug and alcohol misuse.
The last stop was the Grand Rounds at the Royal Women’s Hospital (Melbourne), convened by Professor Kelsey Hegarty. Recently, Professor Hegarty was jointly appointed by the Royal Women’s Hospital and the University of Melbourne as Chair of Family Violence Prevention. Her appointment to this role coincided with the World Health Organisation’s adoption of a global plan of action to strengthen the role of the health system in addressing violence against women and girls. It was very fitting then to be able to introduce the ANROWS burden of disease study to the 40-50 medical, nursing and allied health practitioners at the Grand Rounds, prior to the presentation from Dr Garcia-Moreno. Our discussion emphasised the vital role that the health system has to play in avoiding and minimising the burden of disease of intimate partner violence, through early detection and intervention and longer-term therapeutic support to respond to its cumulative and harmful affects.
These activities would not have been possible without the collaboration of organisations mentioned above, and Dr Garcia-Moreno’s support in these events would not have been possible without collaboration between ANROWS and Professor Angela Taft, La Trobe University, to bring her to Australia for our respective initiatives. Dr Garcia-Moreno was a key note speaker at the 21st Nursing Network Violence Against Women International Conference hosted by La Trobe University.
Image: L-R Lauren Hewitt from the Department of Health, Chair of Family Violence Prevention Dr Kelsey Hegarty, Dr Claudia Garcia-Moreno from the World Health Organisation, the Women’s Executive Director of Clinical Operations Lisa Dunlop, ANROWS CEO Heather Nancarrow and the Women’s White Ribbon Ambassador A/Prof Les Reti.