Training and education

Family and Domestic Violence Toolbox

Women’s Health Strategy and Programs (WHSP) within Women and Newborn Health Service, provides guidance, resources and training to WA Health staff in the area of Family and Domestic Violence (FDV) and Gender-based Violence / Honour-based Violence. WHSP produces the Guideline Responding to Family and Domestic Violence (PDF), which provides best practice guidance on identifying and responding to FDV in a health service.

WHSP also provides family and domestic violence (FDV) education and training for WA Health staff. The education and training program is for staff to assist with early identification, responding to and referrals for people experiencing FDV.


What is Family and Domestic Violence?

Family and domestic violence (FDV) is a pattern of ongoing, repetitive and purposeful use of physical, emotional, social, financial and/or sexual abuse used to intimidate and instil fear. Such behaviour enables the one person to control and have power over another person in an intimate or family relationship.

It’s behaviour which results in physical, sexual and/or psychological damage, forced social isolation, economic deprivation or behaviour which causes the victim to live in fear. The term is usually used where abuse and violence take place in intimate partner relationships including same sex relationships, between siblings, from adolescents to parents or from family carers to a relative or a relative with disability.


Strengthening Antenatal Responses to Family & Domestic Violence - First Evaluation SnapshotStrengthening Antenatal Responses to Family and Domestic Violence

In 2017, the WA government made a Stopping Family and Domestic Violence policy (PDF) commitment to “investigate the introduction of routine screening for Family and Domestic Violence (FDV) in all public antenatal settings”. WA Health has a stated specific remit to implement and fulfil by June 2021. In 2018 the Director General of Health committed $1.56 million over three years for the Women and Newborn Health Service (WNHS) to implement a state-wide antenatal screening program to enhance WA Health’s response to FDV in public antenatal settings.

The Women’s Health Strategy and Programs team coordinates the Strengthening the Antenatal Responses to FDV (SARFDV) project, in response to this commitment and has implemented a training program for all antenatal staff in the public setting, incorporating the screening tool FDV950.

WA Health staff can find out more information about the project by emailing

View the progress of the SARFDV project (PDF) over the first evaluation snapshot of 1 January to 30 September 2020.

Family and Domestic Violence Training

Women’s Health Strategy and Programs (WHSP) provide family and domestic violence training and short presentations for all WA Health staff. All training is underpinned by the WA Health Clinical Practice Guideline: Responding to Family and Domestic Violence (PDF).


Training topics include:

  • Identifying and responding to family and domestic violence in a WA Health setting including risk assessment, FDV screening in mental health settings and FDV in the workplace.
  • Understanding Female Genital Cutting/Mutilation: A focus on practice guidelines.
  • Preventing Violence Against Women: a focus on the CaLD community.
  • Family and domestic violence in the CaLD community.
  • Screening for Family and Domestic Violence in an antenatal setting.



WNHS Introduction to Family and Domestic Violence elearning package (external site)

Screening and responding to FDV for maternity and emergency department staff (external site)

Screening and responding to FDV for mental health staff (external site)

Screening and responding to FDV – a CaLD Perspective (external site)

Screening and responding to FDV: Aboriginal clients and communities (external site)

WNHS Female Genital Mutilation elearning package (external site)


Training via Video Conference:

WHSP provides a series of video conference (VC) sessions on various topics on family and domestic violence during the year. This training is recommended for all WACHS front-line health staff including nurses, midwives, doctors, child health nurses, allied health staff and can be organised for metro hospitals.

To register for any VC training, please email



Bookings and enquiries can be made by emailing or phoning (08) 6458 1795.

For more professional development opportunities, visit the WNHS Learning Management System Moodle (external site)



It is well known that pregnancy can be a time when women can experience family and domestic violence (FDV) for the first time, or an increase in violence during this time. The antenatal period can be an appropriate time to screen for FDV due to the ongoing contact with the health system, an opportunity for early intervention and to provide the support required during this vulnerable time.

Sustainability of identification and response to domestic violence in antenatal care: The SUSTAIN Study was conducted by Australia’s National Research Organisation for Women’s Safety to “understand and support the integration of evidence-based, effective screening, risk assessment and first line support to DV into the complex system of antenatal care” (ANROWS, 2020). The study involved, surveying 1219 women across two sites in Victoria and interviewing five women at two NSW sites, also holding 12 focus groups and 8 interviews with antenatal practitioners across six hospitals.

Research conducted by ANROWS detailed in the SUSTAIN study (PDF) report identified a new model called the REAL Transformation Model (PDF)


REAL Transformation Model

The REAL Transformation model provides a relevant model and an opportunity for organisations working with at risk women to build a system which can effectively identify women who may have experienced FDV during pregnancy and provide a first-line response which supports the woman.

For more information on The REAL Transformation Model see Centre of Research Excellence Safer Families (external site).

Supporting employees

Each Health Services Provider has procedures for leave entitlements following the WA Government Implementation Guidelines. (See the Premier's Circular 2017/07 Family and Domestic Violence, paid leave and workplace support (external site)). For a Guide on how to support employees experiencing FDV, go to the Supporting Employees Experiencing FDV – A Guide For Managers (PDF). WHSP also provides training for managers on this topic.

For personal counselling and / or support, your workplace may offer an employee assistance program (EAP). These are voluntary, employer-sponsored programs that help employees navigate stressful life circumstances. EAPs are usually free for the participating employees to use.

Last Updated: 20/09/2022