A poster in a hospital emergency department may be all it takes for a victim of family violence to reach out for help.
With that in mind emergency department nurses at Whanganui Hospital are putting up posters round the unit to prompt patients to ask for help while in the care of health professionals.
Posters on the walls of the emergency department cubicles are well read.
The nurses asked the Whanganui District Health Board's violence intervention programme co-ordinator Barbara Charuk to develop a poster that clearly showed violence was not always physical, and was never acceptable.
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"Sadly many people believe family violence is physical only, when, in fact, perpetrators use many different tactics to have power and control over their victims.
"These tactics include emotional abuse, coercion and threats, economic abuse, isolating the victim, using children and denying, blaming and minimising," Mrs Charuk said in a press release. "If a patient is lying in an ED bed reading our new 'Power and control' posters based on those commonly used by family violence agencies, we hope it will give them the confidence to ask for help."
Mrs Charuk said she was delighted the nurses had been so pro-active in supporting the work of the violence intervention programme.
"It didn't surprise me when they told me they wanted to find other ways to support the efforts of the programme. The ED nurses are very committed and well trained to screen for family violence and support the patients who come forward asking for help."
She said emergency department nurses could call on social workers and specialist staff to support them, and the DHB worked closely with Women's Refuge.