Accident and emergency nurses in Greater Manchester are to receive support and training in identifying the victims of domestic violence, under a new initiative.
The groundbreaking scheme has been launched by Greater Manchester’s police and crime commissioner and will see domestic abuse specialists based in hospitals.
For the first time, workers from the charity Victim Support will be placed in emergency departments and urgent care centres. They will train A&E staff to help identify victims and make the process of referring them to support services much simpler.
Following a successful pilot at Fairfield General Hospital in Bury, the initiative is now being extended to Rochdale Infirmary, the Royal Oldham Hospitals, Bolton and Tameside hospitals.
A team of five domestic abuse workers will work with A&E staff, who will also have access to a 24-hour phone line to refer patients direct to Victim Support.
The project will be extended to North Manchester General Hospital in the next few months and it is hoped it will be rolled out to the rest of Greater Manchester in future.
Ann Christopher, named nurse safeguarding for adults at Pennine Acute Hospitals NHS Trust, said: “This scheme will be of great benefit to people who present at our emergency care services in Rochdale, Bury and Oldham who may be suffering domestic abuse.
“Research tells us that lots of people who suffer domestic abuse want someone to ask them about it and offer help,” she said.
Pennine has also merged its existing measures to support and protect its own workforce suffering from domestic abuse into the new policy.
Greater Manchester police and crime commissioner Tony Lloyd said: “I’ve met and listened to victims of domestic violence and this is exactly the sort of service they’ve been crying out for.
“This initiative is a lifeline for these hidden victims, empowering them to access support services much earlier.”
He added: “This is partnership working in action and is what I want to develop across the wider criminal justice system. It’s common sense and puts the victim at the very centre of what we’re doing, providing a better service that meets their needs.”
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