Like other preventable population health concerns such as alcohol, smoking and obesity, the serious long-term negative health impacts of violence, abuse and neglect make it core business for NSW Health. NSW Health is committed to strengthening its response to people and families that have experienced sexual assault, child abuse and neglect, or domestic and family violence, and to children and young people engaging in problematic or harmful sexual behaviours. It has invested $10 million per annum from the 2017-18 financial year to improve the capacity of specialist Health services, commonly referred to under the umbrella term of Violence, Abuse and Neglect (VAN) services. As part of this funding enhancement, the Ministry of Health, in partnership with local health districts (LHDs), specialty health networks (SHNs) and NSW Health Pillars, has undertaken a statewide VAN Redesign Project (the Project).

This document is the key component of the first phase of the Project. It provides an overarching, strategic platform for all of NSW Health to respond to violence, abuse and neglect alongside detailed guidance for NSW Health’s specialist VAN services. It is complemented by: The case for change, which provides the comprehensive evidence base that underpins the Framework; service profiles of VAN services; and a Self-Assessment Tool for LHDs/SHNs. Comprehensive evaluation of the implementation of the Framework will be undertaken.

The second phase of the redesign, which may overlay for some districts and networks, will build on the foundation of this Framework to broaden the focus to integrated responses across the whole NSW Health system and with partner agencies. This will include, for example, mental health, alcohol and other drugs, cultural healing services and services for people with disabilities. These longer-term reforms, supported by specialist VAN services, will promote a cultural shift across all NSW Health services towards person-centred and trauma-informed care and practice, based on recognition that all health workers have a responsibility to contribute to the prevention of and response to interpersonal violence.

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