Brisbane GPs will be taught how to spot the signs of domestic abuse

Brisbane healthcare professionals will be better equipped to identify and respond to domestic violence abuse as part of a frontline training rollout.

The federally funded program Recognise, Respond, Refer was launched on Monday to provide general practitioners with skills to identify signs of abuse and refer patients to support services were required.

The Brisbane South Primary Health Network's program was expected to kick off next year and would include funding to give support services to GPs who referred patients experiencing domestic violence abuse.

Estimates suggested full-time GPs saw up to five women a week who had experienced abuse from an intimate partner in the past 12 months, according to an Australian survey referenced on the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners' website.

In a Brisbane study, one-third of abused women had told a GP about the abuse, while only 13.2 per cent had been asked by a doctor, according to research published in the Australian and New Zealand Journal of Public Health.

The Queensland Centre for Domestic and Family Violence Research was expected to provide training to a minimum of 70 general practices across the Brisbane south region, including the Redland Bay islands.

Women in Australia who had experienced partner abuse wanted to be asked about it and were more likely to disclose if asked in an empathic, non-judgmental way, according to research published in the Medical Journal of Australia in 2000.

Federal member for Forde Bert van Manen said for many people experiencing domestic violence, GPs were often their only link to community-based services.

"Enhancing practitioner knowledge of the issue can improve the response, provide early intervention and potentially save lives," he said.

Brisbane South PHN chief executive Sue Scheinpflug said domestic and family violence was a priority area for intervention, according to their research.

"By engaging GPs and primary healthcare professionals, we are adding a new dimension to how we address this often hidden issue," she said.

This story Brisbane GPs will be taught how to spot the signs of domestic abuse first appeared on The Sydney Morning Herald.