A NEW scheme to help GP surgery staff identify domestic violence victims has been launched in South Tyneside.
The Domestic Violence and Abuse in Primary Care project brings together a range of organisations and agencies to promote the work they do and the services they provide to support victims and perpetrators of domestic violence.
The project, developed by the council’s community safety team, focuses on identifying domestic abuse cases when they call at GP surgeries, with staff trained to look out for patients who experience abuse, listen, offer guidance and direct them to support services.
Coun Tracey Dixon, the council’s lead member for area management and community safety, said: “The impact of domestic abuse is not only confined to the victim and the perpetrator. It has devastating, far-reaching effects on the lives, and the physical and emotional health and wellbeing, of those who suffer, and on their children.
“Family doctors are uniquely placed and trusted, having forged close bonds with patients, and can play a huge role in helping to encourage those affected by domestic abuse to come forward, speak out and seek help.
“We hope that by developing closer links with GP services, we can support more victims to break the cycle.”
Dr Matthew Walmsley, chairman of the South Tyneside Clinical Commissioning Group, said: “Early recognition and timely support can make a real difference to people facing domestic abuse, and GP practices will welcome this initiative.”