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Abuse and violence: Safety and support

Given general practice is such a broad specialty in which primary healthcare professionals are the first point of medical contact for so many, it is important for GPs to feel confident in their ability to treat or manage whatever illnesses are presented. However, there will always be areas in which GPs do not feel as certain of their abilities, or even their obligations.

Abuse and violence – including domestic violence, physical abuse, emotional abuse, child and adult sexual abuse, economic abuse, social abuse, elder abuse and neglect – is an area in which GPs can feel less comfortable treating people, particularly in light of the sensitivity of the issue.

‘[GPs] often feel a bit overwhelmed when they ask because they have never had any training in the area,’ Professor Kelsey Hegarty, a GP academic with a background in domestic violence and co-Chair of the RACGP’s National Faculty of Specific Interests (NFSI) Abuse and Violence network, told Good Practice.