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Trust plays its part to stamp out violence against women and children

24 November 2010

South East Coast Ambulance Service NHS Trust (SECAmb) is looking at ways to stamp out violence against women, children and other vulnerable people and has held dedicated workshops on the issue.

The Trust held three workshops in Haywards Heath, Leatherhead and Maidstone, during September and October and welcomed more than 100 professionals, stakeholders and staff with an interest in this matter.

The workshops were held after the Department of Health commissioned SECAmb in 2009 to investigate how nationally the ambulance service can play a more effective role in early identification of violence as well as provide care and support to victims.

Each year across the UK, three million women experience violence, and there are many more living with the legacies of past abuse.

As a result the NHS is supporting the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women (25 November 2010) with a 16-day awareness campaign.

SECAmb recognises that the ambulance service is in a unique position of trust and is often the first on the scene of an assault or abusive incident. Ambulance clinicians have an opportunity to spot the signs and symptoms of violent abuse and refer people to appropriate agencies for support.

Chief Executive of SECAmb, Paul Sutton, who sits on the national steering group for a task force set up to look at health aspects of violence against women and children, said: “These workshops were very enlightening and provided some valuable insight and knowledge that will be used to support our staff going forward.
“Many vulnerable people who have suffered violence and abuse turn to healthcare providers, such as us, for support.

“While the task force uses the term ‘violence against women’ we recognise that violence and abuse can affect anyone. Therefore, we are committed to ensuring that our staff are trained to appropriately care for the vulnerable regardless of age or gender so we can hopefully prevent further abuse.”

The key objectives of the workshop were to consider referral pathways for victims, as well as what tools, information and training ambulance staff require.

Sarah Bailey, a women’s refuge manager for CASA Support, who attended one of the workshops, said: “I found it very useful.  It was great to be able to share knowledge on this important issue. 

“It is vital we work together to tackle abuse against women and children.”

The outcome of the workshops is available on our website by searching VAWC.

As part of the work going forward, the Trust is looking to develop a training toolkit for ambulance staff which will be shared with other ambulance trusts.

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