Trauma-informed care exhibition opens in Ballarat

Friday, 25th August 2017

Ballarat will host next week an innovative digital story exhibition showcasing multimedia projects produced as part of a new study of hospital care for women who have experienced sexual assault and mental health problems.

The exhibition, Hear Me, Connect, Help Me Heal, which will take place Tuesday 29 August at Ballarat Health Services, will highlight research produced by Australia’s National Research Organisation for Women’s Safety (ANROWS) and the University of Melbourne.

The WITH Study — Women’s Input into a Trauma-informed systems model of care in Health settings — was led by Professor Kelsey Hegarty from the University of Melbourne, who will launch the exhibition.

ANROWS CEO Dr Heather Nancarrow said ANROWS funded the study to support the development of a model for integration of mental health and sexual assault services, particularly in hospital settings. 

“Many women who have been sexually assaulted experience poor mental health, but often they do not get support for the trauma of the assault and the mental health issues, and certainly not as an integrated, holistic response” said Dr Nancarrow.

Project leader Professor Kelsey Hegarty from University of Melbourne, said that women who had experienced mental health problems and sexual assault clearly articulated the importance of trauma-informed care and empowerment approaches.

“There are many terms used for this type of care and approach,” said Professor Hegarty. “But we feel that a trauma and violence-informed framework will enable a holistic response to women experiencing mental health problems and sexual violence”. 

The WITH Study helped inform Strengthening Hospital Responses to Family Violence, a $10.2 million Victorian government initiative that identifies and supports patients experiencing family violence across all Victorian public hospitals. The initiative was founded by Bendigo Health and the Royal Women’s Hospital.

The initiative is part of the $38.4 million Victoria will invest over four years to fund a whole-of-hospital service model for responding to family violence in public hospitals.

Dale Fraser, the CEO of Ballarat Health Services, said the initiative would make a difference to the region’s response to domestic and family violence.

“An additional full time family violence project worker has been appointed to work closely with the service in the Grampians region,” Fraser said.

Professor Hegarty and Dr Nancarrow will be available for interview.

WHAT:                                 Hear Me, Connect, Help Me Heal: The WITH Study Exhibition

WHEN:                                 11.30 am-12.30pm, Tuesday 29 August 2017

WHERE:                               Ballarat Health Services, Drummond Street North, Ballarat, Victoria

Media enquiries:                   Michele Robinson, ANROWS Director Evidence to Action

                                             Phone: +61 417 780 556  Email: michele.robinson@anrows.org.au